Hoegh Osaka Safely Back in Southampton Port

Photo courtesy MCA
Photo courtesy MCA

It’s been an eventful three weeks for Hoegh Autoliners’ pure car and truck carrier MV Hoegh Osaka and all of those involved in the response.

On Thursday evening, the 51,770 gross ton vessel was safely delivered alongside Berth 101 in the Port of Southampton following a four hour tow from the Alpha Anchorage and approximately 20 days after the vessel was intentionally grounded on the Bramble Bank in the Solent.

Prior to her departure from the anchorage, salvors were able to decrease the list of the ship to just 5 degrees, down from about 52 degrees in the weeks following the grounding when the ship was filled with some 3,000 tons of water that had entered through a crack in the hull.

A statement Friday from the Hoegh Autoliners expressed extreme gratitude towards the Master and Pilot, rescuers, relevant authorities, and the salvors, as well as over the safety of the vessel.

“We are extremely grateful that our vessel is now safely moored after close to three weeks,” the statement said. “When the list had developed, difficult decisions were made by the pilot and master in the Solent on the night of January 3. Without those decisions we might not have had the vessel alongside.

“A lot of work remains, physical as well as legal, but the main thing is that the crew is safe, that no pollution to the environment has occurred, that the traffic in and out of the port has been largely uninterrupted, and the cargo soon can be accessed so our customers can get some clarity in their business continuity plans.

“We thank everyone who have been involved in the challenging rescue and salvage operation.

“We have been impressed with the skill and efficiency of all those involved, the Secretary of State Representative and his team, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the RNLI, The seaman’s church organisations, our main insurers Gard, Southampton’s Port Authorities, ship managers Wallem and of course, Svitzer Salvage. All the interested parties have co-operated closely under the auspices of the SOSREP which illustrates the effectiveness of the world leading single authority approach in place in the UK.”

Over the next 24 to 48 hours, the vessel will be inspected and made safe for surveyors to go aboard to conduct surveys prior to the discharge of cargo – reported to be some 1,400 cars.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch, and Hoegh Autoliners says it will be conducting its own internal investigation into the causes.

To recap, the Hoegh Osaka was deliberately beached on the Bramble Bank in the Solent after having departed from Southampton for Bremerhaven, Germany. All 25 people onboard at the time were safely evacuated, although two crewmembers suffered minor injuries. The vessel remained on the bank until January 7, when high water and strong winds helped the vessel to float free. The vessel was then towed to the nearby Alpha Anchorage, where the ship was held stable – mostly – despite less-than-favorable weather conditions as salvors worked to pump water, inspect the hull, and adjust ballast, all in an effort to safely reduce the list of the ship and get it back to Southampton. No pollution has been reported as a result of the accident.

Full Coverage: Hoegh Osaka Grounding