An oil rig which was laid up in the Cromarty Firth for years over fears it would be sent to an illegal shipbreaking beach overseas has now arrived in Turkey to be scrapped legally.
The Ocean Vanguard left the Highlands on Wednesday August 24 to be sent to the Aliaga, an EU-approved scrapping yard in Turkey.
It has now completed its journey of thousands of miles, heading round the UK and France, past Gibraltar and Sicily, before finally arriving at its destination, according to marine traffic information.
The Ocean Nomad and Ocean Princess are expected to follow in the coming months having all been bought by Turkey’s Rota Shipping.
In 2018, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) blocked the rigs from leaving the Cromarty Firth over concerns it could be headed to dangerous scrapping beaches in India or Bangladesh.
Aliaga is the premier facility, backed by the European Union, for such work in Turkey.
Approving the removal last month, SEPA said: “We are satisfied that the application meets the requirements of the waste shipment regulations (WSR) and as such the appropriate prior written consents from SEPA and the Turkish competent authority have been obtained prior to the movement of any of the waste vessels.”
The Ocean Vanguard, along with the Ocean Nomad and Ocean Princess, are all formerly owned by Diamond Offshore Drilling.
They were sold in 2018 to GMS, a US-based firm which describes itself as the world’s largest cash buyer of ships for recycling.
However SEPA blocked the three from leaving the Cromarty Firth amidst fears they would be headed to dangerous shipbreaking yards in South Asia.
GMS said in 2020 that it no longer owned the rigs, leaving questions on its future.
Rota Shipping deals in scrap tonnage and has been active since 1986, according to its website.