At 8.20pm on the 3rd January 2015, the car carrier, Hoegh Osaka, left Southampton on a routine call, heading for Bremerhaven. Before she reached the Hook buoy, she was in trouble. The Captain and pilot took the decision to ground her on the Brambles sandbank. She stopped at 9.20pm, listing at 45 degrees, safely out of the shipping lane. All 24 crew plus pilot were rescued, some from the sea.
The press conference the following day said she was listing 52 degrees and Svitzer were appointed as salvors. There was also an 200 metre exclusion zone around the vessel. On the 5th, she was no longer transmitting as Hoegh Osaka but Wreck.
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Received:18:39:33 05 Jan 15 GMT
The 6th it was announced a JCB may have broken loose and caused a hole in the hull, which they had to repair. Just before 2pm on the 7th, due to strong winds and high tides, she floated herself off the sandbank. Tugs rushed to her aid and towed her to Alpha Anchorage, where Queen’s Harbour Master, Portsmouth, declared a 300 metre exclusion zone. I had been unable to see her until the 8th and it was a miserable rainy morning as we went to Calshot to see Rotterdam arrive. It dried up a few hours later so we went back in the afternoon.
Another chance on the 10th thanks to Queen Elizabeth arriving 7 hours late due to bad weather. The tugs Lomax and Vortex had been joined by Ginger, an Iske offshore tug. Unfortunately, after QE had passed, there was a collision between Lomax and Hoegh Osaka resulting in slight damage to the tug, her mast obviously bent. Phenix replaced her for a couple of days.
Now everything depended on weather. They finally were able to begin pumping the clean water out at 11am on the 17th, which reduced her list to 48 degrees. They made slow but steady progress and by the evening of the 19th, the list was reduced to 39 degrees. Two days later it was 25 degrees and on the 21st they announced plans for her return to Southampton, including a map.
By the 22nd she was a mere 5 degrees. The MCA announced they would start to being her in from 3.45pm (media had 3.30pm while ABP had 4.30pm) but in fact things began to happen well before that. Svitzer Bargate headed out around 12.45pm and all the tugs were on the move by 2.21pm, led by Thorax (which had come from Norway) with Svitzer Bentley on the forward starboard, Multratug 4 (which had come from the Netherlands) on her aft port side with Vortex on the stern and Willsupply following. Both SP Protector and Southampton Patrol were out while BBC News had a helicopter buzzing over the vessels. The Red Jets slowed to around 10 knots as they passed.
While Multratug 4 headed to Flushing, Thorax berthed in 101 for the night in front of Hoegh Osaka with Vortex alongside. Thorax was scheduled to sail for IJmuiden the following morning. It is unknown at present what will happen to her or when she will leave Southampton.