Public access to view rig refloat attempt
Arrangements are in place for people who want to spectate tonight as the first attempt is made to refloat the oil rig, Transocean Winner, from the rocks at Dalmore where she has been stuck for over two weeks. Two tugs are already connected and standing by at Dalmore, while a further tug is standing by in Broad Bay. A Coastguard spokesman said that the refloat could start as early as 5pm, with the incoming tide due to peak at 10.30pm – the exact time of refloat will depend on conditions at the time, including the effect of buoyancy tanks on the rig.
Because there is expected to be intense interest in the operation, people are being asked to comply with the safety precautions put in place at the site this evening. Drivers coming to spectate are being asked to park on the verge where directed, the westside circular road being reduced to a single lane to allow for parking. Traffic will be allowed through the area in escorted convoys at a safe speed. Anyone not wishing to see the operation is asked to stay away from the road this evening, as through traffic will be affected. Dalmore village road will remain closed and police will manage traffic arrangements along the road.
People are being strongly discouraged from trying to get to clifftop viewing points, since rain and wind will once again make these routes hazardous, and the refloat could be taking place up to and after dark, adding to the diificulty of maintaining public safety. Anyone going to spectate is also asked to wear sensible clothing and footwear, to reduce the risk of injury.
A spokesperson for WIEPCG said: 'We completely understand that people will want to see this happen tonight. All we ask is that they do it safely and within the limits that we're putting in place. People wanting to watch the re-float operation are being asked to make sure they follow the plans, advice and instructions being put in place so they can do it safely”.
Exclusion zones covering air and sea space around the rig remain in place with drones, aircraft and boats not involved in the operation liable to prosecution if they breach the exclusion. If the refloat is successful, the rig will be towed to Broad Bay and, during the tow, an extended exclusion zone of 1000 metres will apply.
Local News for Tuesday 23rd August 2016
CalMac will ‘transform experience’
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne are promising to ‘transform the experience’ of ferry travellers, after concluding the contract process for Clyde and Hebridean ferry services. The company has signed formal contracts with Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) to operate ferries and harbours on the west coast of Scotland.In May CalMac was announced by Transport Scotland as the successful bidder and it also won a separate, but linked contract to deliver harbour operations at 24 ports on behalf of CMAL. Managing Director Martin Dorchester said: "Now that the contracts have been signed we can start to share information with staff and customers about our ambitious plans to transform the experience of ferry travellers during the lifetime of the contract."
Read more: Local News for Tuesday 23rd August 2016