The Hoegh Osaka ran aground nearly three weeks ago and is due to be docked in Southampton this evening

The car carrier Hoegh Osaka, which ran aground almost three weeks ago, is to be towed to Southampton Port later this evening.

In a statement issued on Thursday lunchtime, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed that the vessel would leave its current position at 3.45pm, before heading up the Solent.

The ship’s list has been significantly reduced after ballasting operations removed all the water from the vessel, with it now sitting at five degrees.

The journey to Southampton Port is expected to take around four hours, with four tugs helping to bring the ship in and the salvor being assisted by two pilots and the ship’s master.

During the towing operation, there will be a restricted airspace placed one mile either side of the route and up to 2,000ft.

There will also be an exclusion zone around the vessel of 1,000 metres ahead and behind and 100m either side.

Hoegh Osaka expected to arrive at its berth in Southampton Port at 7pm tonight.