Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hoegh Osaka cargo ship 'grounded deliberately' in Solent

Media captionHoegh Autoliners CEO Ingar Skiaker: "Salvage experts will look at the design of the vessel"

A car transporter ship was grounded in the Solent deliberately after it began to list, its owners have said.

The Hoegh Osaka was run aground off the Isle of Wight on Saturday evening after developing problems once it had left Southampton, Ingar Skiaker, chief executive of Hoegh Autoliners said.

The ship is now listing at more than 50 degrees and a salvage operation is expected to take several days.

However, no oil is thought to have leaked from the ship.

Mr Skiaker said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the accident and thanked the rescue teams who took all 25 crew on board to safety.

He said two crew members had been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Media captionRNLI volunteer Tom Pederson: "Not a rescue we go to every day"

Mr Skiaker said: "We know the vessel was leaving Southampton with some cargo on board and while navigating out of the channel she apparently had a list.

"The captain and master, and the pilot on board decided jointly to put the vessel on the sandbank to avoid any more serious problems.

"I think they executed their duties based on their best judgement and we're not second-guessing their actions right now.

"There has been no leakage of any oil or any other substances and that's our primary focus obviously now going forward, that we keep it that way."

Asked whether there were too many vehicles on board, he replied: "No, the vessel was only one-third full."

He said the vessel was considered to be stable and that his company was working closely with their appointed salvage company, Svitzer, to "prepare for a safe and successful salvage of the vessel with minimal disruption to the port and it environment".

Image caption The ship ran aground 50 minutes after setting sail from Southampton

Hugh Shaw, of the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), also said there had been no environmental damage.

"I am confident that the vessel owners are working professionally and promptly and have appointed salvors who arrived on scene early this morning and have already started work to assess options for salvage and the removal of the vessel," he said.

Media captionCaptain Rich Habib: "The ground underneath the ship may not be stable"

"Further salvage personnel and salvage equipment is expected to arrive on scene tonight. Further assessments will be carried out over the next few days and these will assist the salvage team to formulate a suitable salvage plan."

A temporary 200m exclusion zone has been put in place. Three senior officers stayed on board but have now been taken ashore.

The MCA said the vessel was not in a shipping channel, so there was no impact on other ships in the area.

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

The 51,000-tonne ship, which was laden with 1,400 cars, had been on its way to Germany when it developed a problem.

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

Image caption The cargo ship ran aground on Bramble Bank on Saturday evening

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