Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Crew rescued from listing Solent car transporter

Media captionEyewitness Andy Merrill describes the rescue operation

The crew of a car transporter ship, which ran aground in the Solent, off the Isle of Wight, have been taken to safety, the coastguard has said.

The Hoegh Osaka was heading to Germany when it ran on to the Bramble Bank, in the entrance to Southampton Water, at about 21:30 GMT.

Owners Hoegh Autoliners said one of the 25 crew members was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Three senior officers had stayed on board but have now been taken ashore.

Image copyright RNLI/Damian Lester
Image caption The RNLI said four lifeboats, as well as the Solent Coastguard helicopter, were involved in the rescue

"Hoegh Autoliners are currently assessing damage and stability issues on board its vessel, which suffered a heavy list earlier yesterday evening after leaving Southampton Port," the company said in a statement.

"The crew have been taken to HMS Daedalus at Stubbington by helicopter and will be accommodated locally overnight.

"The Marine Accident Incident Branch (MAIB) has been informed.

"The crew confirmed the vessel was not taking in any water."

A spokesman added an operation to re-float the ship was already under way and it was not "a lost cause".

The 180m (590ft) vessel, which was carrying a combination of vehicles, can be seen from Cowes, listing at 45 degrees.

Four RNLI Lifeboats as well as the Solent Coastguard helicopter were involved in the rescue.

The lifeboats, from Calshot, Cowes and Yarmouth worked with Southampton Patrol and four tug boats, two from Esso and two from Southampton Docks.

Image caption Most of the crew made it to the high side of the ship, said Tom Pederson from the RNLI

Tom Pederson from the RNLI, who took part in the rescue operation, said most of the crew had made their way to the high side of the ship and were waiting to be rescued.

"Our inshore lifeboat actually did pull somebody from the water that was on the low side.

"He was identified and then made a jump for it and with the tide conditions, it started to pull him under, under the hull so... [we] dragged him clear but he would have fallen six or seven metres into the water, so there's a potential injury there."

Fred Battison, who lives on the Isle of Wight told the BBC he watched as crew members were airlifted off the ship by the helicopter.

"It's not something you'd expect to see moored there at a 45-degree angle.

"You often have ships that size - it's about 51,000 tonnes - going through but to see one stationary, in that position, is quite surreal.

"It's on the Bramble Bank, which is a sand bank that moves with the tides and ships are warned about it.

"I don't know why it happened but hopefully no-one has been injured."

The transporter, registered in Singapore, set sail from Southampton at about 20:20 GMT.

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