VIDEO: Hoegh Osaka Towed to Southampton

Grounded car carrier Hoegh Osaka, loaded with millions of dollars worth of cars, has been towed to the Port of Southampton after being stranded for 19 days in the Solent.

The towing operation started yesterday at 14.45 GMT  with the assistance of four tugs and by 18.15 GMT she was safely alongside at berth 101 in the Port of Southampton, owner of the vessel, Hoegh Autoliners said.

In the next 24-48 hours the vessel will be inspected and made safe for surveyors to come on board. Once the necessary on board surveys are completed the cargo discharge will begin. It is today however too early to say when this can start,” the company said.

The vessel grounded on the Bramble Bank in the Solent, January 3, having departed from Southampton for Bremerhaven, Germany.

Hoegh Osaka 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.

“When the list had developed, difficult decisions were made by the pilot and master in the Solent on the night of January 3. Without those decisions we might not have had the vessel alongside,” Hoegh Autoliners said in a release.

Osaka 1

Salvage crews have been working for almost three weeks to upright the vessel which was originally lying at 52 degrees.

Over 3,000 tonnes of water have been pumped out of the vessel during the uprighting activities.

Having managed to move the grounded car carrier Hoegh Osaka to the almost upright position, with the vessel listing only by 5 degrees, the salvage crews were able to proceed with the towage.

“A lot of work remains, physical as well as legal, but the main thing is that the crew is safe, that no pollution to the environment has occurred, that the traffic in and out of the port has been largely uninterrupted, and the cargo soon can be accessed so our customers can get some clarity in their business continuity plans,” the company added.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch, however; Hoegh Autoliners has also launched its own investigation into the cause.

Images: MCA, Hoegh Autoliners; Video: youtube