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Had the Heogh Osaka gone down in the shipping channel, it would have effectively blocked the Port of Southampton, having a devastating effect on the local economy. It's a key centre for Britain's cruise industry and the container terminal handles cargo worth billions of pounds every year. Rachel Hepworth has been looking at what could easily have been an economic catastrophe. She spoke to Oceanographer Dr Simon Boxall and Stewart Dunn, Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.
Salvage workers have boarded the stricken car transporter that was deliberately run aground by its captain to prevent it capsizing in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
The 51,000-tonne Hoegh Osaka was grounded on the Bramble Bank between Southampton and the Isle of Wight after it sailed from the Hampshire port with its cargo of 1,400 luxury and standard cars as well as 80 pieces of construction equipment.
A Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said experts from Svitzer had gone on board to begin an inspection of the vessel.
Hoegh Autoliners have appointed Svitzer as the salvage company for a car carrier, which ran aground on Bramble Bank.
The Hoegh Osaka has a 52 degree list in the busy shipping lane and is being assessed for stability before a salvage operation can begin. A 200 metre exclusion zone is in place around the ship for safety reasons.
There is currently no sign of an oil leak from the vessel.
The operation to remove the beached cargo ship from the Solent could take over a week.
A Department for Transport official said: "It's certainly going to be days going into perhaps over a week."
The men in charge of the Hoegh Osaka deliberately ran the cargo ship aground in the Solent to "save the vessel and the crew", according to the head of the company that owns the ship.
Ingar Skiaker told a press conference it was "too early" to say what had gone wrong, but that there would be an investigation to establish what happened.
All 25 crew members of a car carrier which ran aground have been rescued by a coastguard helicopter and lifeboats.
The cargo ship became grounded on Bramble Bank in the Solent, near the Isle of Wight, at around 9.20pm yesterday and began listing to one side.
National Maritime Operations Centre commander Steve Carson said: "All of the crew have been accounted for and other then a couple of non life-threatening injuries, everyone is safe and well. Some crew members are now in hospital."
A thermal imaging search was carried out by police search and rescue teams overnight near the scene of a grounded cargo ship in the Solent.
Infrared images from the National Police Air Service in Bournemouth show the ship lolling to one side after running aground.
A car carrier which ran aground causing it to list heavily in a busy shipping lane is being assessed for stability before a salvage operation can be mounted.
National Maritime Operations Centre commander Steve Carson says plans for salvage of the 180-metre ship were under way and would not comment on how the ship ran aground.
A statement from Hoegh Autoliners, the ship's owner, said it was assessing the damage and stability of the vessel. It is not believed to be taking on any water.
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HoeghAutoliners have released a statement following the emergency in The Solent this evening. They say the ship is not taking on water.