The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reports “good progress continues to be made” today as salvors aboard the Hoegh Osaka have reduced the vessel’s list to starboard to 25 degrees, or roughly half of what it was 19 days ago.
The agency says all water has been removed from the car decks and as ballast operations continue throughout the day, the ship will hopefully further reduce her list to 15 – 20 degrees. At this point MAIB investigators will board the ship to gather information for their investigation and subsequently, a skeleton ship’s crew will be permitted to board the ship in preparation for its move back to Southampton Port.
The crew will attempt to restart the vessel’s emergency generator which will be used to provide power to the installed ballast pumps, the tank metering systems, lighting and the ship’s windlasses to recover the anchor and approximately 220 meters of chain which has been deployed.
Salvors will consider a multitude of factors before moving the ship from Alpha Anchorage to the port of Southampton such as the stability of the ship, the restart of the vessel’s system, tide and weather conditions. The MCA says they are looking to reduce the list of the vessel to 5 degrees or lower before bringing it into port as anything greater than that will complicate the future offload of the cargo.
Once back in port, the salvors will being turning the vessel back over to the owners, Höegh Autoliners, over an estimated 2 to 3 day period. This process will include discussions with the vessel’s insurers as well as the port of Southampton. Subsequent to that, the cargo offload will commence.
The MCA expects the tow from Alpha Anchorage to Southampton to take four hours and involve the use of four tugs, the Salvage Master, the ship’s captain and two pilots. The actual timing of the tow is dependent on the weather over the next few days, once the list is reduced.