Salvors preparing to move the stricken Höegh Osaka cargo ship out of the Solent shipping waters have finished pumping water off the vessel.
The listing ship is currently at Alpha Anchorage in Portsmouth waters. Plans are in progress to move the 52,000-ton vessel into Southampton Port either Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.
It was initially grounded on Bramble Bank on 3 January when it began ‘severely listing’ as it left Southampton Docks and was feared to be at risk of capsizing.
Following a major rescue operation in ‘challenging conditions’ to save the 25 crew members, salvors have been working to secure the vessel amid forecast 75mph winds and to prevent pollution from the 500 tonnes of fuel on board.
The ship’s cargo also consists of 1,400 cars – including some prestige models, 70 to 80 pieces of excavators and heavy plant machinery.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said the Secretary of State’s Representative for Intervention and Salvage visited the site of the Höegh Osaka yesterday to view operations, which are ‘progressing well’.
The weather has been favourable and is forecast to remain so, although the salvors are still working in challenging conditions.
The spokesman said: ‘De-watering operations finished at 11.30am today. Preparations are underway to begin the operation to pump the water that remains in the car decks into the empty fuel tanks on the ship.
‘Salvors plan to move the Höegh Osaka to Southampton Port later this week, possibly late on Wednesday or early on Thursday.
‘The list is now at 47 degrees and we expect it to improve slowly over the coming hours in accordance with the plan.’
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