A massive oil drilling platform has become a temporary seamark in the middle of the Minch as it awaits clearance to complete a five-month journey around the world.

The Ocean GreatWhite completed virtually a full circuit of Lewis and Harris over Christmas, on the last leg of a journey that has brought her from Singapore via Las Palmas, under tow by the offshore supply vessel Alp Defender.

She gave the west coast of Lewis a wide berth and rounded Ness late on Saturday (December 29th), moving into her current position yesterday afternoon (Sunday December 30th). She’s now anchored within viewing distance of residents of Point and Lochs and close to the Stornoway Ullapool ferry route.

Ocean GreatWhite is owned by Diamond Offshore and is the largest semi-submersible offshore drilling rig in the world, a 6th generation harsh environment drilling rig, weighing in at 60,800 tonnes and capable of drilling down to 10,000m in 3,000m of water.

She’s en route to Kishorn Port Limited (KPL) where she’ll be made ready to start work in the North Sea early in 2019. Stornoway Coastguard said she is currently expected to remain in position until at least January 3rd while she awaits clearance from agents before entering Kishorn port.

The work on her represents the first major contract for KPL and Alasdair Ferguson, a Director of KPL, said after viewing the rig: “I couldn’t fail to be impressed by the sheer scale of the Ocean GreatWhite. We hope that the berthing and support to the rig at Kishorn will herald a new era of engagement in the oil and gas industry at Kishorn.”