Shortly after leaving the Port of Southampton on Saturday evening, a massive Hoegh Osaka car transporter started leaning and wavering in the English Channel, forcing the crew to deliberately ground it on the Bramble Bank in hopes of keeping it from capsizing. A few days later, however, the ship is still stuck at a 45 degree angle and could take days to right.
On board the massive ship, there were scores of luxury automobiles, including 1,200 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, 65 Mini models, and one Rolls-Royce Wraith. All together, the vehicles are worth upwards of tens of millions of dollars. Currently, there is no word on the condition of the vehicles or on any plans to retrieve and recover them. No matter what the outcome turns out to be, it appears that all of the vehicles have endured dramatic damages.
Before any recovery is performed, though, authorities must first figure out a plan on how to loosen the ship from its current situation.
When asked how the crew could reset the 56,000 ton ship, marine salvage expert Capt. John Noble told the BBC, “At the moment the door is wide open on how they will do it. The tidal option is no longer possible as it is clear she is hard and fast where she is.”
“It won’t be as complex as the Costa Concordia and they used a leverage system there, which has been used in a number of cases. It can’t be done using ballasts due to the angle but I am sure they are exploring the dredging option. This could be done as long as the seabed stays where it is, but Bramble Bank may wash back and forth. That could be a high risk option.”
“The priority is making sure the fuel is safe and may well be removed, but the other issue is the hull giving way as she is in a position she is not designed for.”
Ingar Skiaker, chief executive of Hoegh Autoliners, said, “Our 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.”
“At this stage 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.”