Severe Weather Continues to Hamper Hoegh Osaka Salvage

Hoegh Osaka seen at the Alpha Anchorage in the Solent. Photo courtesy MCA
Hoegh Osaka seen at the Alpha Anchorage in the Solent. Photo courtesy MCA

Severe weather continues to be a problem for salvors of the Hoegh Osaka car carrier in the Solent.

Over the weekend, strong winds caused the ship to drag anchor for approximately 100 meters at the Alpha Anchorage, where the ship has been held since floating free from its grounded position on the Bramble Bank in high water and winds last Wednesday. Later on Saturday, one of the two tugs holding the car carrier in place was damaged when it collided with the ship. No personnel were injured in the accident, but the tug had to be replace with another one.

Weather conditions on Saturday prevented any salvage work from being carried out other than connecting a third tug to help hold the ship in place.

On Sunday, salvors were able to once again board the Hoegh Osaka and began pumping some 3,000 tons of water that entered the vessel through a crack in the hull. According to an update Monday from the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, salvors pumped water for approximately 1-2 hours on Sunday and also checked the ballast system. Salvors now intend to bring in more pumping equipment to the lower holds of the ship in order to pump more water from the vessel. As gCaptain reported previously, hydraulic fluid from the cars onboard caused a oily film to accumulate on the surface of the water inside the ship.

The MCA statement added that the weather forecast continues to be very poor this week, peaking at 1800 on Wednesday to 0600 Thursday. The port is considering taking the pilot off the scene because the worsening weather will make it harder to relieve them at the end of shift. Vessel Traffic System contact will be maintained and, if necessary, a pilot could be returned to the scene subject to approval from the salvors, according to the MCA.

The MCA said last Thursday that salvage work was expected last five to seven days at the current location and would include hull inspections by divers, the removal of water and ballasting operations to reduce the list. It seems obvious at this point that the original timeline may have changed a bit due to the weather, although no updated timeline has been given. Representatives from the Secretary of State for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, the salvage company Svizter, and the Port Authority are expected to brief the media at the MCA headquarters in Southampton on Tuesday. Plans still call for the ship to be moved to the nearby port of Southampton once the salvage work is complete.

The 51,000 ton car carrier was deliberately grounded on the Bramble Bank by the Pilot and Master over fears that vessel would capsize after developing a severe list shortly after departing from the port of Southampton on January 3rd.

Still no pollution has been reported as a result of the incident.

We’ll update as new information comes in…

Full Coverage: Hoegh Osaka Grounding