Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Stricken Solent ship: 'Weather window' for Hoegh Osaka move

Hoegh Osaka Image copyright Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Image caption Accident investigators will be allowed on board when the ships reaches a list of about 15 to 20 degrees

Salvage teams working on the Hoegh Osaka ship stranded in the Solent have said they have a window of 48 hours to ready it to be moved.

The cargo ship, at Alpha Anchorage between Lee-on-the-Solent and Cowes, had been listing at 52 degrees but is now at 25 degrees.

Salvors need it to be at five degrees before it can be towed back to port.

If the list is not reduced enough, the weather and tide conditions would not be right to start towing until Sunday.

Speaking at a press conference, Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State's representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said all the water from the car decks had now been removed.

"Any further reduction of the list will purely be from the management of the ballast water internally in the ship," he said.

He said once the list was about 15 to 20 degrees, inspectors from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) would be allowed on board to examine the ship as part of their inquiry into the cause of the incident.

Mr Shaw said weather conditions would be conducive for the work to reduce the list to be completed until Friday evening.

The Singapore-registered ship is being held in place by tugs and salvers have been pumping 3,000 tonnes of water out of the hull since Saturday.

It will eventually be towed up Southampton Water to Berth 101 at Southampton Docks.

Image copyright Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Image caption Tug boats are keeping the ship in place in the Solent

The 51,000-tonne ship, carrying 1,400 cars and 105 pieces of construction equipment, was deliberately beached on Bramble Bank sandbank on 3 January after it began listing as it left Southampton.

It floated free from the sandbank on the high tide on 7 January and was towed to deeper water where it remains.

On 11 January one of the tugs helping to keep the ship in place crashed into the Singapore-registered transporter in high winds.

More than 3,000 tonnes of water had to be pumped from the hull to refloat the ship.

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