RESCUE crews are today weighing up whether to return to the stranded Hoegh Osaka before 75mph gales are set to hit the region.

Salvors from maritime experts Svitzer are this morning discussing how to progress their operations on the giant car transporter being held off the Isle of Wight.

Daily Echo:

The Met Office has issued a yellow severe weather warning for high winds and heavy rain which could turn to snow, sleet and hail.

It follows salvors withdrawing from the vessel yesterday amid strong winds and fears that the ship will be there for at least a week before it is brought back to port.

Meanwhile a helicopter has been called in to get salvors aboard more easily, and pilots from Associated British Ports (ABP) – who have been motoring it from tugs holding it in place – have been sent back to land and replaced by the salvors’ own tow masters.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said teams are “watching and waiting” on the weather conditions while a spokesman for Svitzer said crews could only return if it was deemed safe.

  • A MAJOR announcement on the future of the Hoegh Osaka car transporter is expected this afternoon.

A media briefing is being called by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) at 12.45pm at the organisation's Southampton headquarters.

Representatives from salvors Svitzer and the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention Hugh Shaw will also update journalists on the huge operation to rescue the 51,000 tonne vessel.

Daily Echo:

Representatives from Port of Southampton owners Associated British Ports (ABP) will also be there to report back on the mission which is being hampered by severe weather.

Their rescue mission involves pumping out 3,000 tonnes of water which has collected in the hull and rebalancing the ship's ballast system.

Over the weekend one of the tugs holding it in position crashed into the side of the vessel.

Noone was injured but the tug was damaged and had to be replaced.

The meeting takes place in the agency's headquarters in Commercial Road, Southampton.