The beached car carrier Höegh Osaka could be refloated tomorrow at around midday, salvage company Svitzer has announced

Plans to refloat Höegh Osaka could see the beached car carrier leave Bramble Bank at around midday tomorrow (7 January), it has been announced.

Speaking at a press conference in Southampton today, Bram Sperling from salvage firm Svitzer said that a final decision would be made tonight.

The refloat efforts would take place at high tide and will involve two tugs that will haul the 51,000-tonne car carrier into deeper water, where it could be possible to correct the ballast and right the ship.

This would take place as far as possible from the shipping channel, but a temporary closure of the Port of Southampton may be necessary.

Mr Sperling added that the internal ballast system will have been shut down and so the refloat will have to be done “by external means” including using pumps that have been loaded onboard.

Salvage efforts have been complicated by a hole in deck six that has let in seawater. This was created when one of the diggers shifted, but most of the smaller vehicles had not moved, he added.

Should tomorrow’s planned refloat prove unfeasible due to prevailing weather conditions, Svitzer would anchor Höegh Osaka in shallow waters and wait for a favourable weather window.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s maritime salvage representative, praised Svitzer’s efforts so far, saying: “There has been a tremendous effort and amount of work done by Bram’s team.

“We’re certainly not out of the woods yet – with salvage there are a lot of uncertainties.”