People garnered around on the promenade to watch as the stricken vehicle carrier Hoegh Osaka was towed back into port.
The four tugs that were previously deployed needed a little over three hours in order to tow the 51, 000-ton vessel back into Southampton Port from Lee-on-the-Solent, after salvors managed to reduce its list to five degrees.
Hoegh Osaka being towed to Southampton
Hugh Saw, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, had some words of high praise last night regarding the skill and professionalism displayed by all parties involved in the operation, including salvors Svitzer.
He commented during a press conference that:
“This operation was truly a team effort – having to handle a vessel listing over 50 degrees is quite complex and demanding, and I pay my tribute to all the salvors involved in this co-op.”
He also added:
“The most important as well as difficult moment for me, personally, was getting her back to 15 degrees, but by no means does this mean that I ever doubted the salvors’ expertize. Everything they’ve said since day one, they have delivered, we had nothing but confidence in them. If it weren’t for them to go on board and find the crack in the hull and subsequently repair it, now we would be looking a totally different and far worse scenario. However, this has to be one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever done because of the co-op between all parties involved. In situations like this, the speed of reaction is the most important factor for saving a vessel.”
It took the salvors roughly three weeks to pump out enough water so that they could reduce the listing of the vessel to make it safe-worthy to move.
The Hoegh Osaka has 1, 400 vehicles and 105 pieces of building equipment, and was grounded deliberately on Bramble Bank sandbank, near to Southampton on the 3rd of January after it had started listing.