Huge bonus for salvers as Hoegh Osaka self-rights: Picture courtesy National Police Air Service

Huge bonus for salvers as Hoegh Osaka self-rights: Picture courtesy National Police Air Service

Onwers of the beached car ship, Hoegh Osaka, say the vessel has self-floated in the past few minutes and is being towed to a holding position in Southampton Water.

The 51,000t vessel, carrying 1,300 Jaguars, Land Rovers, BMWs, JCBs and one Rolls-Royce Wraith, was deliberately run aground on 3 January after developing a severe list leaving Southampton en route for Germany and the Middle East.

"The vessel self-floated at high water a few minutes [ago] and the intention is to tow[it] into a holding position in Southampton Water," a spokesman for Hoegh Osaka owners, Hoegh Osaka, told just-auto.

"Then a decision on the next phase, on the salvage, will be made. They were not expecting this and so the salvers have taken advantage of this opportunity to refloat."

Most cargo appears to be intact, although one piece of agricultural machinery caused a crack in the ship, with this now having been repaired.

Some water ingress had occured, but has clearly not been enough to prevent the refloat, which has seen the ship right itself from a list of 51 degrees.

The holding position is now two miles east of Bramble Bank where the Hoegh Osaka was grounded, but with no evidence of pollution either, the news has clearly given both salvers and owners an unexpected window.

"The vessel has now refloated at high water and the intention is to tow her to a holding position in Southampton Water pending a full assessment," a spokeswoman for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency told just-auto.

"With salvage, you don't want to rush anything. The priority is to do it safely."