The Fate of the Transocean Winner

Credit where it is due, Tom Lamont writing for The Guardian has done some splendid reporting here covering the fate of the semisubmersible drilling vessel Transocean Winner, which ran aground on the Hebrides last year. It is very long, but well worth a read.

I was pleased to see that, while the author reasonably writes about the environmental and societal issues surrounding shipbreaking, he resists any temptation to go off on a rant about fossil fuels or global warming. It is refreshing. It’s how journalism should be done.

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5 thoughts on “The Fate of the Transocean Winner

  1. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see a photo of the Salvage Master in her bikini.

  2. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see a photo of the Salvage Master in her bikini.

    I suspect we may be fortunate in that regard.

  3. I used to do the odd welding job on a local salvage vessel in Plymouth for a guy who was a legend in the industry, or so he told me,the guy was an out and out pirate from what we could gather one of his crew even had one leg.His exploits were verging on the ridiculous he once asked me to weld the tracks of a crawler crane he had obtained from some scrapyard directly to the deck of his ex North Sea tender salvage vessel i am not going to bore you with how he got the bloody thing on the deck but his idea was to basically poach from a wreck off of Jersey ,which someone else had the salvage rights to,tons of copper ingots using the crane bucket to grab as much as he could during the night and lay off during the day.To gauge the amount of copper on board the vessel his plan was to send his untrained son down in a 50 year old diving bell tethered to the crane,obviously we pointed out that the tracks on the crane were not designed to be welded to ships decks or unstiffened ships decks were not designed to take crawler cranes,for all that though the guy had a swashbuckling way with him and he detested authority especially the MOD but that is another story.

  4. I saw a different approach to wreck disposal in Madagascar, admittedly it was a smallish cargo vessel.

    They sank it about 30m down a kilometre or so offshore as wrecks are great at attracting fish (I guess it protects the young from predators), and all the local fishermen go there for fishing, instead of the coral reef reserve the local authorities wanted to set up for tourists and divers which the fishermen were using previously.

    It is very easy to pinpoint where the wreck is as you have all those small crafts and pirogues above it.

    That lifting ship is very impressive.

  5. I love those kinds of stories marc and have met similar types in my travels, I guess that the metallurgical properties of the weld heat affected zone would have been lost on him. I have seen African guys sent 80m up 600 dia holes underground with sticks of dynamite to blast the 500 MPa rock away.

    On swashbuckling mariners one similar Englishman to your guy that comes to mind was constructing small wharfs as a gift to locals on tiny islands near the Lihir Gold Mine in New Ireland, PNG. We were building a major gold mine on Lihir Island and the client got us to build these small wharves for the isolated islanders on the tiny coral quay outer islands. I visited the works and found a roll on roll off ferry and an excavator painted matt black (marine paint) cutting the coral and building the wharfs. Standing in knee high water, his faithful servant a PNG highlander (they normally would never come down from the highlands and see the ocean) came up to us with a silver tray, tea pot, milk and tea cups and offered us tea sir, right there in the middle of the water. The local kids were fascinated with the works sitting on the beach, laughing, picking the nits out of each other’s hair, these people hadn’t seen any machines since the Japs were there in the Pacific war. We were playing cards at night on the boat and ran out of beer and the Englishman clicked his fingers and the little servant guy appeared from under the table and fetched another chilled six pack, his bed was under the table we were playing cards on and I didn’t even know he was there until he appeared. There were other things that were put inside 44 gallon drums and taken away from there which a bit like the MOD are another story.

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