Fierce weather has hampered attempts to refloat the stricken oil rig that has threatened to spill its load of diesel fuel off the Western Isles.
The Transocean Winner platform was carrying 280 tonnes of diesel – more than 300,000 litres – when it was blown ashore at Dalmore Beach near Carloway, on the west side of Lewis early on Monday.
The semi-submersible structure detached from its tug the Alp Forward during towing from Norway to Malta.
Rescue teams yesterday managed to get two salvage workers onto the platform only briefly due to gales. It is hoped high tides at the end of next week will offer a chance to refloat the rig.
A small fleet of rescue tugs including the Coastguard vessel Herakles has been assembled.
A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “Plans to put a team of eight salvors on board the rig had to be called off because the conditions are unsuitable to winch them down safely.”
A 300-yard exclusion zone remains in place around the rig.
A spokesman for the Western Isles Emergency Planning Coordinating Group urged people to avoid nearby coastal paths which remained “particularly hazardous” to anyone trying to gain access to the area.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has carried out a shoreline check for pollution. Monitoring found no trace of a slick on Wednesday although there were reports of oil in the water the previous two days.
A Marine Accident Investigation Branch investigation is underway.
Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said serious questions needed to be asked as to why the rig was being towed during severe weather. Deputy First Minister John Swinney has raised the point with the UK Government.
The Carloway Community Association will host a public meeting on at 7.30pm on Monday at Carloway Community Centre to discuss the rig drama.
A ban on public use of the nearby road leading to the shoreline will be lifted today for people attending a funeral at Dalmore opposite the grounded rig.