The ship that will take the damaged oil rig Transocean Winner to Turkey for decommissioning has arrived off the coast of Lewis.

The drilling rig is to be floated on to the deck of Offshore Heavy Transport's semi-submersible Hawk vessel.

The complex operation is dependent on favourable weather conditions.

Heavy Load Carrier Hawk arrives off Lewis to take the damaged oil rig Transocean Winner

Heavy load carrier Hawk - Image courtesy: Hannes van Rijn

The 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner rig ran aground at Dalmore, near Carloway, on the west side of the island during a storm over a month ago.

It was successfully refloated and taken to its current safe anchorage on the east side of the island.

Hawk was already in Scottish waters having taken another rig to an anchorage in the Cromarty Firth in the Highlands. 

The ship was designed to move rigs and other large marine structures over long distances.

The Transocean Winner has been fitted with air bags to increase its buoyancy. A number of small tugs will be involved in an operation to float it on to the Hawk.

On Tuesday, David Walls, of the rig's owner Transocean, said relatively calm weather was needed for the operation to be completed.

Transocean Winner was being towed from Norway to Malta, from where it was to be moved to Turkey to be scrapped, when it and the ship towing it were hit by a storm off the Western Isles.

The tow line broke and the rig ran aground on the beach at Dalmore.

Related news: 

17,000-tonne Drilling rig blown ashore in storms off Western Isles (Video)

Update: Transocean Winner drilling rig refloated

Source: BBC