Update 1: Bad Weather Hampering Osaka’s Salvage

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Weather conditions continue to hamper salvage activities aboard grounded car carrier Hoegh Osaka.

All salvage activity is highly dependent on the weather, which is forecast to be very poor this week, peaking at 1800 on Wednesday to 0600 Thursday, UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) informed.

Bad weather persisted over the weekend as well, preventing any activity on the vessel other than to connect the third tug.

On Saturday afternoon, one of the two tugs attached to Hoegh Osaka moved from her position and collided with the listing car carrier.

On Sunday, the salvors pumped water for 1-2 hours; there was no discharge of oil.  The salvors manged to check the ballast system and they intend rigging another pump in the lower hold to pump into the ship’s tanks as well as overboard.

Up to 3000 tons of water is estimated to be on the vessel. Work to pump this water off started on Thursday.

“An oily film has formed on top of this water from the hydraulics of the vehicles on board. The salvors will use a technique that draws the water from the bottom of the vessel to avoid this oily film. The removal of this water should reduce the vessel’s list,” MCA said.

MCA said that the port was considering taking the pilot off the scene because the worsening weather will make it harder to relieve them at the end of shift, subject to discussion with the salvors.

Vessel Traffic System contact will be maintained and, if necessary, a pilot could be returned to the scene.

“Although it is still some way off, plans for the vessel’s return to dock continue, to ensure the discharge of cargo is done safely and access policed/restricted as appropriate,” MCA added.

The agency estimates that it will take up to seven days for salvage work to be completed before car carrier Hoegh Osaka can be moved back to the Port of Southampton.

The Queen’s Harbour Master has introduced an exclusion zone of 300m to remove the risk to leisure users of the Solent.

The vessel  self floated at 1.55pm on Wednesday, January 7 at high tide and was towed to a preferred holding position 2 miles east of the original grounding position, close to the area called Spitbank.

The vessel remains held in position at anchor on the Alpha Anchorage.

World Maritime News Staff

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