Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Car transporter Hoegh Osaka runs aground at Bramble Bank in Solent

January 6, 2015.

Concern is mounting for a giant ship which was at the centre of a major rescue drama last night after running aground in the Solent.

The car transporter the Hoegh Osaka was on its way to Germany when it ran on to the Brambles Bank, at the entrance to Southampton Water and began listing 45 degrees. And air and sea rescue operation saved 25 crew from the ship but today there are concerns that it may become unstable due to high tides.

Emergency services are monitoring the 51,000 ton ship which is stuck in the mud but there are concerns that at high tide at about 10.30am the ship could move.
A coastguard spokesman said the incident was a “unusual situation and a difficult one to predict.”

Last night a Solent Coastguard helicopter based in Lee-on-the-Solent was involved in the incident, as was the Rescue 169 rescue helicopter based at RAF Chivenor. Lifeboats from Calshot, Cowes and Yarmouth and two Southampton VTS pilots were also on board the ship. The Calshot D Class inshore Lifeboat Willet rescued a casualty from the bow of the ship and another from the water after he had jumped from the ship.The crew of the Calshot RNLI Lifeboat handed the casualties over to the Yarmouth RNLI crew on their All Weather Lifeboat, Severn Class Volunteer Spirit.

A Yarmouth RNLI crew member was winched by helicopter from the All Weather Lifeboat onto the Hough Osaka to help pull up casualties who were trapped aboard the troubled vessel.
A helicopter airlifted most of 25 crew members to safety from the180m vessel after it ran aground at 9.20pm near East Cowes. South Central Ambulance Service assessed 22 members and say they took three men to Queen Alexandra Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Other crew were airlifted to HMS Daedalus at Stubbington and put up over night.

Originally the captain, third mate and a VTS Pilot were left on board but have since been air lifted by Lee on Solent Coastguard. The owners Hoegh Autoliners say the vessel is “stable” and not taking in water and no pollution has been caused. Witnesses report seeing the helicopter hovering above the huge vessel – which is registered in Singapore - and seeing torchlights flashing around on board.

A statement released by vessel owners said: “Hoegh Autoliners primary concern has been for the crew on board and it has confirmed that one crew member has been airlifted to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth with non-lifethreatneing injuries. “The remaining crew has have been taken to HMS Daedalus at Stubbington by helicopter and will be accommodated locally overnight.

“However a small number of senior officers remain onboard.”The statement added the vessel was not taking in water and is in a stable condition and added: “A salvage master has been appointed and Hoegh Autoliners are fully cooperating with the authorities at this time to ensure the vessel remains safe.”

Hoegh Autoliners has appointed salvage specialists Svitzer who are sending teams to the site. They will assess the vessel to ensure it is in a safe condition and there is no spillage or pollution. They are due to liaise with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are on standby to assist with the operation. A statement from the RNLI said: "Just before 9.30pm this evening, Solent Coastguard requested the help of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

"A large cargo ship had grounded on the Brambles bank in the entrance of the Southampton Waters.
"Currently four RNLI Lifeboats from Calshot, Cowes and Yarmouth are in attendance alongside the Solent Coastguard Helicopter, Southampton Patrol and four tug boats, two from Esso and two from Southampton Docks.

"The ship’s crew are being rescued from the water and from onboard the stricken vessel, which is at a list of 45 degrees."

The police helicopter also helped in the operation and has been taking thermal images of the ship, pictured on its side below, to help in the investigation.Rescue services say she ran aground on a rising tide, which is now falling and will not be high again until about 10am this morning.

Red Funnel ferries has put speed restrictions in place while the operation is ongoing. National Maritime Operations Centre commander for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Steve Carson said the ship had started to list again during the rescue operation. He said: "All persons have been evacuated and some crew members had minor injuries and are now in hospital."The majority of the crew members were airlifted off but all members have now been taken off after the vessel started to list again."He added plans for salvage were under way and would not comment on how the ship ran aground."Indeed the investigation will follow and the authorities have been informed at this time. I will not speculate on the circumstances," he said. "The salvage operations have commences, not the removal of the vessel but the plans for its removal. We will have to wait until daylight to fully assess. The owners have appointed salvage operators and did so quite swiftly."

Source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk

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