Work to retrieve grounded car transporter begins.
SALVAGE workers have boarded a car carrier that was stranded on a sandbank next to a busy shipping lane to prevent it from capsizing.
The 51,000-tonne Hoegh Osaka was grounded on the Bramble Bank between Southampton and the Isle of Wight after it sailed from the Hampshire port with its cargo of 1,400 cars as well as 80 pieces of construction equipment.
The vessel began to list as it left the port, forcing the captain and pilot to take the emergency action of beaching it on the sandbank to prevent it turning over into the sea.
The incident prompted a major rescue operation with the 24 crew members and a pilot having to be taken to safety by coastguard helicopter and RNLI lifeboats. Two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospital.
The 180-metre Singapore-registered ship is listing at 45 degrees and the salvage operation is expected to take days, possibly weeks.
A 200-metre exclusion zone has been set up around the ship to prevent small vessels interfering with the tugs and other shipping.
Salvage company Svitzer has been appointed to lead the operation to refloat the ship.
A Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said experts from Svitzer had gone on board to begin an inspection of the vessel.
Survey vessel THV Galatea arrives to inspect the car carrier Hoegh Osaka after she became stranded on Bramble <BBank, in the Solent between Southampton and the Isle of Wight