One that was berthed here in January 2015 was the Hoegh
At 2006 hours on 3rd January 2015 she slipped her
lines and headed down Southampton water bound for
But as the ship neared the exit into the
Once the successful rescue of personnel had been completed, the next task was to figure out how to get the ship off the sandbank in one piece. Tugs had already attempted to pull the ship off her resting place but she was stuck fast. This now required a salvage team to get the ship back upright and take her back into port. This was easier said that done as over time she found herself to be listing to starboard now at 52 degrees. It was looking less likely that she would be recovered intact.
On the night of 22nd January she was towed into
What was so incredible in the ending to this story was the fate of her cargo. Many of the vehicles were simply driven off the ship and lined up ready to inspect for damage. Although there were some that had been too smashed up to use, almost 1200 were completely fine.
The cause of the almost-sinking of the Hoegh Osaka was investigated by the Marine Accidents Investigation Branch (MAIB) and it was discovered that weight distribution was a major factor. There was a significant difference between the estimated and actual weight of the cargo and this led to the ship sailing in an unstable condition. Combined with the distribution of ballast, the ship was lucky to get as far as she got.
It is only good seamanship that prevented a tragedy, but with most of the cargo intact, all the crew alive with only one injured as well as the ship being fully recovered (she was back at sea in February) this is a lesson that was learned without a headline hitting sea disaster to accompany the headlines. With so many similar ships sinking with huge loss of life, this time instead we have the miracle of the Hoegh Osaka to look back on and learn from.