A car carrier which ran aground causing it to list heavily in a busy shipping lane is being assessed for stability before a salvage operation can be mounted.
The 25 crew members of the Hoegh Osaka were rescued by a coastguard helicopter and lifeboats after it became stranded on Bramble Bank, in the Solent between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, at about 9.20pm yesterday.
During the rescue operation, the 51,000-tonne Singapore-registered ship listed at 45 degrees.
One crew member is understood to have been rescued from the water while the majority of the crew had made their way to the high side of the ship and were taken to safety. Three senior officers stayed on board before being taken ashore.
HM Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said a helicopter mounted a rescue for the crew while RNLI lifeboats from Yarmouth, Calshot and Cowes were also sent to the scene.
National Maritime Operations Centre commander Steve Carson said: “All of the crew have been accounted for and other then a couple of non life-threatening injuries, everyone is safe and well.”
A statement from the MCA said: “The crew who were on board the car carrier Hoegh Osaka have all now been accounted for. Some were airlifted off the ship by coastguard helicopter and others were rescued from the sea by the three lifeboats that were on scene.”
The agency said the search and rescue mission was co-ordinated by the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham and the three crew members who remained on board the vessel to assist with salvage operations had been airlifted off.
It is not yet clear how the boat got into difficulty.
Mr Carson said plans for salvage of the 180-metre ship were under way and would not comment on how the ship ran aground.
He said: “The investigation will follow and the authorities have been informed at this time. I will not speculate on the circumstances.
“The salvage operations have commenced. Not the removal of the vessel but the plans for its removal. We will have to wait until daylight to fully assess. The owners have appointed salvage operators and did so quite swiftly.”
A statement from Hoegh Autoliners, the ship’s owner, said it was assessing the damage and stability of the vessel.
“Hoegh Autoliners’ primary concern has been for the crew on board and it has been confirmed that one crew member has been injured and he was airlifted to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth with non life-threatening injuries,” it said.
“The remaining crew have been taken to HMS Daedalus at Stubbington by helicopter and will be accommodated locally overnight. However, a small number of senior officers remain on board.”
The Marine Accident Incident Branch (MAIB) has been informed.
Four tug boats attended and the crew confirmed the vessel was not taking in any water, the company added.
A spokesman said: “A salvage master has been appointed and Hoegh Autoliners are fully co-operating with all the authorities at this time to ensure the vessel remains safe. No pollution has been reported.”
Bramble Bank is a well-known sandbank in Southampton Water and is the scene of an annual cricket match between two yachting clubs when the sands are exposed in low spring tides.
In November 2008, the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 with 1,700 passengers on board ran aground on Bramble Bank but was able to continue its journey on the rising tide after four tugs pulled it clear.