Understanding hydrodynamics of a free-spanning pipeline subjected to omni-directional flows is important to engineering design. In this study, horizontally oblique flows past a three-dimensional circular cylinder in the vicinity of a plane boundary are numerically investigated using direct numerical simulations. Parametric studies are carried out at the normal Reynolds number of 500, a fixed gap-to-diameter ratio of 0.8 and five flow inclination angles (α) ranging from 0 deg to 60 deg with an increment of 15 deg. Two distinct vortex-shedding modes are observed: parallel (α ≤ 15 deg) and oblique (α ≥ 30 deg) vortex shedding. The wake evolution is further divided into two or three stages depending on α. The occurrence of the oblique vortex shedding is accompanied by the base pressure gradient along the cylinder span and the resultant axial flows near the cylinder base. The total hydrodynamic drag and lift force coefficients decrease from being the parallel mode to the oblique mode, owing to the intensified three-dimensionality of wake flows and the phase differences in the spanwise vortex shedding. The independence principle (IP) is found to be valid in predicting hydrodynamic forces and wake patterns when α ≤ 15 deg. This IP might produce unacceptable errors when α > 15 deg. In comparison with the mean drag force, the fluctuating lift force is more sensitive to the inclination angle. The IP validity range is substantially smaller than that in the case of flow past a wall-free cylinder. Such finding would be practically useful for vortex-induced vibration prediction.