Höegh Osaka Self-Floated at High Tide
Update: The vessel has self-floated at high water and the intention is to tow her to a holding position in Southampton Water pending a full assessment of her condition. A decision on the next phase of the salvage operation will be made after the assessment.
The ship self floated at 1.55pm and all salvors had left the vessel safely. The list of the ship is unchanged and the vessel is currently under tow to a preferred holding position 2 miles east of the original grounding position.
This new location is just inside Portsmouth Harbour and is close to the area called Spitbank. Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth has established a temporary exclusion zone of 300 meters around the vessel. Only exempt vessels are to enter the exclusion zone.
The tow to the new position is being carried out by Svitzer, the salvors, and the new holding position will allow a full assessment of her condition. Disruption to the Port of Southampton is minimal; there will be a slight restriction in traffic movements until the Hoegh Osaka is clear of the main channel, but no closure of the port is anticipated.
On Wednesday, January 7, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a statement confirming that the vessel will not be refloated today. The salvors are continuing the assessments of the vessel and analysis in order to prepare for a safe and successful salvage operation.
The onboard inspections made by the salvors are performed to gather information for the salvage plan. The report from the inspections shows that most cargo is still in position as originally stowed and is held in place by the lashings. However, all decks have not so far been accessed. There are no specific reports as to the condition of the cargo.
There has been some water ingress resulting from a small crack in the hull which is reported to have been caused by one cargo item that has shifted. This crack has now been temporarily repaired. The MCA stated: “The salvors calculations revealed that more water has entered the vessel than previously thought. The preparation for the refloat will therefore take longer than the weather window will allow.”
The focus is now for the salvors to collect the relevant information to prepare for a safe salvage operation with minimal disruption to the port and the environment.