Coastguard sets up 200m exclusion zone around Höegh Osaka

The grounding of car carrier Höegh Osaka on Bramble Bank has led to the Coastguard setting up a 200m exclusion zone in the Solent

Boatowners crossing the Solent have been warned to stay well clear of the grounded car carrier Höegh Osaka, which ran aground on Bramble Bank at 9:30pm on Saturday (3 January).

The 51,000-tonne vessel was listing at over 52 degrees as salvage company Svitzer set to work last night, after the entire crew of 24 were successfully evacuated by the RNLI.

One injured crew member was airlifted to Queen Alexander Hospital in Portsmouth with non-life threatening injuries.

As a result of the grounding, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has set up a 200-metre exclusion zone in the Solent for safety reasons.

Despite this, Associated British Ports said that marine access to the Port of Southampton is unaffected.

Ray Blair, deputy harbour master for the Port of Southampton, said: “Our advice is that all small vessels should stay at least 200 metres from the Höegh Osaka at all times. Apart from this, small vessels may move about the Solent as they normally would.

“For the purposes of indicating the exclusion zone, two wreck marking buoys will be laid around the vessel shortly.”

Pollution risk

A statement from the MCA added that while the Counter Pollution Team was monitoring the situation, no signs of pollution had been detected so far.

Hugh Shaw, the secretary of state’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said: “I am confident that the vessel owners are working professionally and promptly and have appointed salvors who arrived on scene early this morning and have already started work to assess options for salvage and the removal of the vessel.

“Further salvage personnel and salvage equipment is expected to arrive on scene tonight. Further assessments will be carried out over the next few days and these will assist the salvage team to formulate a suitable salvage plan.”

Ingar Skiaker, CEO of Höegh Autoliners, added: “There is no oil spill reported at this point however we understand that the UK authorities have brought their spill response to a state of active readiness.”

To see aerial footage of Höegh Osaka, click on the video above.


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