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Car carrier was deliberately grounded

Written by Nick Blenkey
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JANUARY 5, 2015 — The U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch has started an investigation into the grounding of the car carrier Höegh Osaka on the Bramble Bank in the Solent on the evening of Saturday, January 3.

The vessel had departed Southampton for Bremerhaven, Germany, with a cargo of 1,400 cars and, according to the U.K. Press Association, “up to 80 pieces of heavy construction equipment.”

Ingar Skiaker, CEO of Höegh Autoliners told a press conference yesterday that  the vessel developed a severe list shortly after she left port and the pilot and the master took the decision to save the vessel and its crew by grounding her on the bank.

“This showed great skill and seamanship on behalf of our crew when faced with such challenging circumstances,” he said.

“At this stage,” said Mr. Skiaker, “it is too early to speculate on the cause of the list but we are starting an immediate investigation. Right now we have serious work ahead of us in order to free the vessel from the Bramble Bank without disrupting the flow of traffic in and out of the Port of Southampton … Our chief concern now is to ensure there is no environmental damage from this incident. “There is no oil spill reported at this point however we understand that the U.K. authorities have brought their spill response to a state of active readiness.  The vessel is currently considered stable, and we are closely working with our appointed salvors Svitzer, who  in turn, are working alongside Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative in Maritime Salvage and Intervention, as well as the Port of Southampton, to prepare for a safe and successful salvage of the vessel with minimal disruption to the port and it environment.”

Built in 2000 by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, the 16,886 dwt Höegh Osaka has a 5,400 ceu (car equivalent unit) capacity.

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