The cargo ship Höegh Osaka is now safe alongside in the Port of Southampton.

Salvors got the list of the stricken vessel to just five degrees yesterday afternoon and the towing operation of the 52,000-ton vessel started in the Solent at 14.45 GMT.

By 18.15 GMT yesterday, Höegh Osaka had been successfully towed from Alpha Anchorage and was safely alongside at berth 101 in the Port of Southampton.

A spokesman for Höegh Autoliners said: ‘We are extremely grateful that our vessel is now safely moored after close to three weeks.

‘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.’

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch, and Höegh Autoliners are fully cooperating with them in their inquiries, and share their interest in uncovering the causes of the accident.

The company spokesman added: ‘We are also making our own investigation into the cause, but as long as their investigation is ongoing, we will not comment or add to this.

‘In the next 24-48 hours the vessel will be inspected and made safe for surveyors to come on board.

‘Once the necessary on board surveys are completed the cargo discharge will begin.’

Read more Höegh Osaka news stories here:

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