A car transporter ship was grounded in the Solent deliberately after it began to list, its owners have said.

The Hoegh Osaka was run aground off the Isle of Wight on Saturday evening after developing problems once it had left Southampton, Ingar Skiaker, chief executive of Hoegh Autoliners said.

The ship is now listing at more than 50 degrees and a salvage operation is expected to take several days.

However, no oil is thought to have leaked from the ship.

Mr Skiaker said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the accident and thanked the rescue teams who took all 25 crew on board to safety.

'Severe list'
He said two crew members had been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

He said: "Our vessel developed a severe list shortly after she left port and the pilot and the master took the decision to save the vessel and its crew by grounding her on the bank.

"This showed great skill and seamanship on behalf of our crew when faced with such challenging circumstances."

He added: "Our chief concern now is to ensure there is no environmental damage from this incident.

"There is no oil spill reported at this point however we understand that the UK authorities have brought their spill response to a state of active readiness."

Hugh Shaw, of the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), said there had been no environmental damage.

A temporary 200m exclusion zone has been put in place.

Three senior officers stayed on board but have now been taken ashore.

The MCA said the vessel was not in a shipping channel, so there is no impact on other ships in the area.

Svitzer, a salvage company, is on its way to the scene to make an initial assessment.

The 51,000 tonne ship, which was laden with 1,400 cars, had been on its way to Germany when it developed a problem.

Source: www.bbc.com.au