- 20 updates
Nineteen days after it was deliberately grounded on a sandbank in the Solent, the stranded car carrier Hoegh Osaka has been towed back to shore.
Four tugs took just over three hours to tow the 51,000-tonne ship back into Southampton Port after salvors managed to reduce its list from 52 to just five degrees.
Tonnes of water had to be pumped out of the ship to reduce the angle of the list, so that when it was docked, the cargo hold doors could be opened for the 1,400 luxury cars inside to be taken out.
The vessel was beached deliberately on Bramble Bank sandbank in a busy shipping lane on January 3 after it began listing as it left Southampton.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has congratulated the salvage experts involved in the operation. He said they battled 'exceptionally difficult weather conditions with extraordinary dedication and courage.'
The Hoegh Osaka - the stricken car carrier stuck in the Solent for the last 19 days has been brought back to a dock in Southampton.
Salvage experts had to wait for the weather to improve and for tonnes of water to be pumped out of the ship so it could towed upright.
ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn watched the rescue operation:
A 51,000-tonne cargo ship that has been stranded in the Solent since the new year is finally being towed back to Southampton.
The Hoegh Osaka was deliberately run aground on a sandbank between Southampton and the Isle of Wight on January 3rd when crew realised it was in trouble.
Previous efforts to re-float the ship had to be abandoned when salvage experts discovered the vessel had taken on more water than thought.
ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn reports:
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said preparations to re-float the Hoegh Osaka cargo ship would resume "when the weather allows".
A spokesman said initial plans to re-float the vessel tomorrow had had to be abandoned as more water has entered the ship than previously thought.
Efforts to re-float a car carrier which was deliberately stranded on a sandbank will not take place tomorrow after salvage experts said the vessel had taken on more water than previously thought.
The 51,000-tonne Hoegh Osaka was grounded between Southampton and the Isle of Wight on Saturday after it set sail from the Hampshire port
The vessel, which has a cargo of 1,400 cars and 80 pieces of construction equipment, began to list as it left the port, forcing the captain and the pilot to beach it on a sandbank to stop it capsizing.
Salvage crews have managed to board a cargo ship stranded on the Solent after it was deliberately ran aground.
It's hoped they will be able to refloat the ship, which was packed full of luxury cars, including Jaguars, Land Rovers and Minis, when it developed problems on Sunday.
The angle at which the vessel is listing - currently 52 degrees - will determine how simple the recovery operation will be.
The owners of a huge cargo ship that was deliberately grounded in the Solent off the Isle of Wight to save it from capsizing has confirmed that salvage firm Svitzer are assessing the vessel.
Hoegh Autoliners said that there is no evidence that any pollution has occurred following the grounding of the 51,000-tonne car transporter ship.
Aerial footage of the the 51,000-tonne Hoegh Osaka, shows to what extent the cargo ship is 'listing', after being run aground on the Bramble Bank in the Solent:
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.
The crew of a cargo ship deliberately grounded to save it from capsizing have been praised for their "great skill".
Ingar Skiaker, chief executive of Hoegh Autoliners which owns the vessel, said no oil had leaked from the vessel and preventing any environmental impact was his key priority.
It could take a week to remove the ship, which was carrying 1,400 cars.
Mr Skiaker said he was starting at immediate investigation but at this stage it was too early to investigate what caused the boat to list shortly after it left port.