By CLAIRE CARTER FOR MAILONLINE
These are the dozens of damaged luxury Range Rovers worth £30million which have finally arrived on dry land after being stuck out in the middle of the ocean for more than three weeks after the transporter they were on was deliberately grounded because it started to list.
The Hoegh Osaka, carrying 1,400 luxury cars including a £260,000 Rolls Royce Wraith, a Porsche Boxter and Jaguars, was grounded on Bramble Bank in the Solent three weeks ago to stop it capsizing, forcing emergency services to rescue all 25 crew members on board.
Scratched and visibly badly dented in their side panels, Range Rovers and a Porsche showed the signs of the traumatic journey which saw the vessel listing for three weeks and battered and beaten by strong winds.
The damaged luxury vehicles were being driven off the stricken ship today where it is moored at Southampton Docks in Hampshire as an operation to assess the scale and cost of the damage caused by the vessel begins.
Hundreds of luxury cars including Range Rovers and a Porsche have been started to be driven back onto dry land after the ill fated Hoegh Osaka arrived at Southampton Water after spending 19 days stranded after it started to list at 52 degrees just minutes after setting off
A Porsche Boxter was one of the luxury cars, with visible dents and scratches to its side panel, seen being driven off the Hoegh Osaka
The ill fated Hoegh Osaka was deliberately grounded in the Solent after it started to list at 52 degrees and it has taken 19 days to return to port
The 52,000 ton transporter was stranded off the English coast for 19 days after it started to list at 52 degrees, just after leaving the port.
High winds and heavy rain hampered the rescue operation – even causing one of the tugs to smash into the vessel. It was brought back to land last week guided by two tugs, so that its precious cargo could be unloaded.
The cost of the incident could run into millions depending on the damage to the vehicles and what happens to them.
But experts believe only a few of the cars will have been damaged by the incident but refused to say whether the Rolls Royce, which is still thought to be on the ship, escaped unscathed.
Officials said all cars would be properly assessed once they had been removed from the ship, where they had been stuck for 19 days
The Hoegh Osaka developed a 52 degree list after leaving Southampton, and attempts to float it and bring the cars back to shore failed
All of the cargo, which includes the cars and other equipment, will be taken off the ship by the end of this week or early next week, according to Hoegh Autoliners.
The transporter was also carrying up to 80 agricultural or building plant machines, including a large stone-cutter machine weighing more than 30 tonnes.
A spokesman for Hoegh Autoliners’ Navigate Response said: ‘There is only limited damage to the cargo.
‘Most of the lashings held, and only a couple of pieces – large machinery – shifted.
‘Water damage only occured on the lowest deck and on the one side the ship was listing.’
The ship arrived at Southampton on January 22 and crews today began removing cars stowed on board, including Jaguars and Range Rovers
Officials said a full assessment of the damage would need to be carried out before it was decided what would happen to the large fleet of cars
Vehicles, many seemingly undamaged, were seen rolling off the ship, and it could take up to a week for all the cars to be removed from it
Dozens of Range Rovers are on board, as well as Jaguars, and the incident could run into costs of tens of millions of pounds of damage
It is not yet known which vehicles were damaged by the sea water inside the ship and the spokesman said the vehicles were owned by ‘a variety of parties’ – including dealers and private owners.
Cars which are damaged or do not start up will be towed off the ship.
The spokesman said only preliminary checks had been carried out at this stage and a full assessment would be completed once every car was off the ship, so they could make a decision about what to do with damaged vehicles.
There is a possibility all vehicles aboard the ship could be written off. In 2006 the MV Cougar Ace carrier vessel, carrying almost 4,800 vehicles, developed a 60 degree list. Most of the cars were Mazdas and officials from the company had reported limited damage to the vehicles, although the American coast guard had said at least 40 vehicles had moved and were badly damaged during the month the ship was listing. At least 4,700 of the cars – mainly Mazdas – were scrapped after the incident.
The Hoegh Osaka was stranded in the Solent from January 3 after it started listing at about 9.20pm, 45 minutes into a journey to Germany
Salvage firm Svitzer managed to complete ballast management to reduce the list of the ship to five degrees and it was towed back to shore
The Singapore-registered Hoegh Osaka was heading to the Middle East was deliberately grounded when it started to list just 45 minutes after leaving the port of Southampton on January 3.
The crew had to be rescued by the RNLI lifeboats and coastguard helicopter and two people suffered non-life threatening injuries during the incident.
The cargo ship, which is 180 metres long and 32 metres wide, finally arrived back in Southampton on January 22.
A spokeswoman from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) confirmed they were investigating what had caused the large vessel to list so dramatically.
WHAT HAPPENED TO GROUND THE HOEGH AUTOLINERS SHIP AND ITS PRECIOUS CARGO FOR THREE WEEKS?
January 3, 8.30pm – The Hoegh Osaka, a Singapore-registered ship, left the port of Southampton bound for Bremerhaven in Germany.The 180 metre long ship was bound for Germany, and loaded with 1,400 cars including Land Rovers, Jaguars and a £260,000 Rolls Royce.
January 3, 9.20pm – About 45 minutes after it left the port the 15 year old ship started to list badly at 52 degrees.
It was deliberately grounded by the crew, near the Isle of Wight in Hampshire, to prevent it capsizing. A rescue operation was then launched to rescue the captain and 25 crew members. It is understood the cargo ship, which has a nine-metre draught, turned sharply to the left as it passed the notorious Bramble Bank sandbank near Cowes and ran aground. Following the incident a 200 metre exclusion zone was set up around the ship, to prevent other vessels interfering with the tugs.
January 5 – Salvage experts unsuccessfully tried to re-float the huge ship by using four tugs to pull it off the sandbank.
The Hoegh Osaka was deliberately grounded in the Solent, around 20 minutes into its journey, after it started listing at 52 degrees
January 7 – The ship was floated from Bramble Bank on the high tide and tugs were used to tow it to Alpha Anchorage near Lee-on-the-Solent.
January 10 – One of the tugs crashed into the ship during a period of high winds.An excavator that was on board shifted during the sailing and punched a hole in the side of the hull, which was quickly repaired. But some 3,000 tonnes of water entered the vessel.
January 17 – The 3,000 tonnes of water was pumped out and into empty fuel tanks on board.
January 22 – Salvage firm Svitzer was able to complete ballast management and reduce the ship’s list to five degrees. It was then towed to Southampton Docks by four tugs.During its journey, an exclusion zone around the vessel was in place, set at 1,000 metres ahead and behind and 100 metres either side. Airspace was also restricted to one mile around the route as a precaution. Hundreds of people gathered at Southampton Water to watch the ship complete its three hour journey back to the port.
January 27 – luxury cars, including Range Rovers and a Porsche, started to be driven off the ship.
Around 3,000 tonnes of water entered the vessel when a hole was punched in its side and this had to be pumped out from the car carrier