Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hoegh Osaka: Crews take first look inside cargo ship

A piece of machinery is seen through rear door of the Hoegh Osaka cargo ship Image copyright Ben stansall/ getty images
Image caption A piece of machinery is seen through rear door of the Hoegh Osaka cargo ship

Crews have taken a first look inside the Hoegh Osaka cargo ship, which had run aground in the Solent.

The Hoegh Osaka was towed to Berth 101 at Southampton docks by four tugs, from a point between East Cowes and Lee-on-the-Solent, on Thursday.

Opening the rear door on Friday revealed one of the pieces of heavy machinery it had been carrying.

Teams involved in returning the cargo ship to port have been praised by the transport secretary.

Image copyright Ben Stansall/ Getty IMages
Image caption The Hoegh Osaka was bound for Germany

'Dedication and courage'

Patrick McLoughlin praised the "extraordinary dedication and courage" of the salvage crews.

Salvers are due to hand back control of the ship to its owners later. The ship ran aground on 3 January.

Investigations by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MIIB) are set to continue with the ship back in port.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Hoegh Osaka moored at Southampton Water Berth 101 on Thursday evening
Image caption The ship still had a slight list but was brought upright from 52 degrees to be towed up Southampton Water

Hugh Shaw, the secretary of state's representative for maritime salvage and intervention, praised the "skill and professionalism" of all parties involved in the rescue and salvage operations.

He cited salvage company Svitzer for preventing a potential environmental disaster.

"If they hadn't got on board and found the crack in the hull and repaired it, we would have been looking at a much worse situation."

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Media captionThe Norwegian-owned vessel has been towed safely back to port

He revealed more than 12 of the ship's crew stayed on board the ship in freezing conditions on Wednesday night to enable it to be towed into Southampton.

Ship owners Hoegh Autoliners said they would be working to remove the vehicle cargo, thought to be worth up to £60m, from the berthed ship and assess any repairs needed to the vessel.

Spokesman Øyvind Erwik said: "A lot of work remains - physical and legal.

"The cargo's condition will only be ascertained when it is safely discharged."

He said the company would not speculate further on the cause of the grounding until the investigation was complete.

Image copyright Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Image caption More than 3,000 tonnes of water were pumped out of the Hoegh Osaka to get it back upright

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "I congratulate all those who have worked tirelessly day and night to bring this ship back to port.

"They battled exceptionally difficult weather conditions with extraordinary dedication and courage."

The Environment Agency confirmed no pollution had occurred although contingency plans had been in place.

Hoegh Osaka - Stranded in the Solent for 19 days

  • 3 January - Singapore-registered Hoegh Osaka is run aground on Bramble Bank after developing a list, shortly after leaving Southampton, en route to Germany
  • 5 January - A team from appointed salvers Svitzer boards the ship to assess the damage and formulate a salvage plan. It emerges it is carrying 1,400 cars and construction equipment including Jaguars, Land Rovers and JCBs

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