Listing car transporter Hoegh Osaka is towed into Southampton - picture by Malcolm Nethersole
Listing car transporter Hoegh Osaka is towed into Southampton – picture by Malcolm Nethersole

The stricken car ship Hoegh Osaka carrying tens of millions of euros worth of 1,400 new Jaguars, Land Rovers, Minis and JCBs, was this evening docked back in the UK port it left nearly three weeks ago after a massive international salvage operation righted a huge list to just five degrees – but with the precious cargo expected to be written off by insurers.

The 52,000-tonne car transporter ship, which was only at one-third capacity, was deliberately run aground on a sandbank between Europe’s largest refinery at Fawley and the sailing mecca of the Isle of Wight after developing a 52-degree list, as pictured below, as it left the UK’s largest vehicle handling port of Southampton through which 750,000 vehicles a year are exported.

It is carrying 1,200 Jaguars and Land Rovers worth tens of millions of euros, 65 new Minis worth around 1.5 million euros, and 105 JCB heavy plant and agricultural vehicles weighing up to 55 tonnes – again worth “many millions” – and reportedly one Rolls-Royce Wraith.

But apart from the effects of the severe list, which led to several of the heavy JCB plant vehicles weighing up to 55 tonnes breaking free and puncturing the hull, it has been reported that at least two decks of cars, probably several hundred vehicles, were submerged in the sea water of which some 3,000 tonnes was pumped out or transferred as ballast to fuel tanks for the return to port.

Tonight Jaguar Land Rover was still unable to give details of its export load – originally taken to Southampton by road and rail – or what will happen to it after the cargo has been declared stable by the salvers.

The ship was sailing to Bremerhaven in Germany, but many of the vehicles had been destined to travel on to the Middle East, including the JCBs. A Jaguar Land Rover spokeswoman confirmed that was the destination of many of their vehicles too, leading to speculation that they would be of the highest specification. But 1,200 cars averaging just 50,000 euros would total 60 million euros.


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