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Water pumped from stricken carrier

Water has started to be pumped from a sea carrier which became stranded next to a busy shipping lane, helping to slightly reduce its list.

Heavy winds have caused delays to the salvage operation to pump water from the Hoegh Osaka and re-right it.

The 51,000-tonne ship, which has a cargo of 1,400 cars and 105 pieces of construction equipment, was beached deliberately on Bramble Bank sandbank, near Southampton, on January 3 after it began listing as it left the Hampshire port.

It floated free from the sandbank on the high tide on January 7 and has since been anchored at a spot two miles east called Alpha Anchorage, near Lee-on-the-Solent.

Last Saturday, one of the tugs helping to keep the ship in place collided with the vessel and had to be replaced.

A Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokeswoman said an inspection by divers had found no significant damage and ballasting operations had helped improve the list.

She said: "The ship continues to be stable and the salvors' ongoing ballasting operations have now reduced the list to 48 degrees.

"The divers yesterday successfully carried out a limited inspection of the Hoegh Osaka's hull. This inspection indicated that there is no significant damage.

"The operation to pump water from the vessel's lower car deck started at 11am today."

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