The Hoegh Osaka cargo ship has been refloated and towed to holding position, after it became stranded in the Solent since 3 January when it beached on a sandbank.

A short-term exclusion zone of 300m has been placed around the vessel to eliminate the risk to leisure users of the Solent.

Currently, international maritime expert Svitzer has joined with UK Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), Hoegh and the Environment Agency to discuss the future of the 51,000t car carrier, which is currently at rest off Spitbank.

The UK MCA noted that salvors have been pumping out 3,000t of water that entered the hull of the vessel a hole.

A UK MCA spokesperson said: "An oily film has formed on top of this water from the hydraulics of the vehicles on board.

"The salvors will use a technique that draws the water from the bottom of the vessel to avoid this oily film."

"The salvors will use a technique that draws the water from the bottom of the vessel to avoid this oily film. The removal of this water should reduce the vessel’s list.

"Before the vessel can be moved back to the Port of Southampton, salvage work needs to be completed which will take between five and seven days."

The vessel, which is carrying a cargo of 1,400 cars and 80 pieces of construction equipment, started listing as it left Southampton port for Germany, which forced the captain and pilot to beach it on the Bramble Bank to prevent the vessel overturning.

Cargo aboard the vessel includes 1,200 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, 65 Mini cars and 105 JCB construction machines.

It is claimed that 500t of fuel has stayed onboard and that no leaks have been reported as yet.