I’ve been fascinated by the sight of the large cargo ship listing at more than 50 degrees on the Bramble Bank sandbank.
Not surprising really as I’m a bit of a ship buff.
On Saturday night, as all the drama unfolded, thankfully 25 people on board were rescued safely.
This now looks to be all thanks to the superb seamanship of the pilot, who would have been advising the master, who himself would have acted with the same skill and bravery.
Now I’m Mr Indecisive. I cannot make up my mind over things, sometimes to the point of despair.
Had I been captain, the Hoegh Osaka would be underwater and causing a major hazard to shipping.
It must have been a split-second decision to run aground. The master must have felt his ship was about to capsize, the pilot knew where they were and advised to head for the sandbank.
I’ve been on cruise ships along that channel. After leaving Southampton Water, it’s a hard to starboard manoeuvre into the Thorn Channel to face Cowes, then a sharp turn to port off the Isle of Wight and head down Spithead, where the cruise ship noticeably lists.
This is where the Hoegh Osaka came a cropper. But why? Surely all those expensive Jaguar and Land Rover cars were tied down?
In my mind, it must be a problem with the ship’s ballast tanks unbalancing her.
Right now Cowes seafront is as busy as Cowes Week in the summer and I’m sure the cafes on Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head seafronts are enjoying the extra trade generated by this temporary tourist attraction.
I reckon it’s time for a Gosport ferry sightseeing cruise.
And what of the infamous sandbank itself? Many are very attached to it and I’m sure Cowes and Hamble Yacht Clubs, who play an annual cricket match there during the lowest of tides, will worry about the state of their crease!
I remember a hydrofoil captain taking a short cut and the craft’s foils bouncing off the sand like a skimming stone. And the QE2 really didn’t want to leave our shores in 2008, so wedged herself on the sandbank.