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.'
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