$45 Million In Luxury Cars Almost Sank Over The Weekend -- And It's Happened Before!

Hoegh Osaka AP/ Francis BiggThe Hoegh Osaka listing.

A 51,000 ton cargo ship was intentionally run aground over the weekend outside of Southampton on the southern coast of England. 

The Norwegian-owned vessel — christened the Hoegh Osaka — had just left port on its way to Germany when it developed what the owners Hoegh Autoliners called a “severe list.”

The Hoegh Osaka’s crew decided to beach the beach vessel in an attempt to save it and its cargo.

Fortunately, all of 25 members of crew made it safely to shore. 

At the time of the incident, the ship was transporting as many as 1,200 luxury cars and SUVs from Jaguar and Land Rover, with an estimated value of $US45 million.

In addition, the Osaka was also carrying 65 vehicles from BMW’s MINI division, valued at an estimated $US2 million, reports the BBC. All of the cars were reportedly destined for the Middle East.

Salvage teams have already boarded the vessel in preparation to refloat the 590-ft.-long ship.

Tricolor Ship REUTERSThe MV Tricolor sinking.

Amazingly, this isn’t the first time a ship full of luxury cars has been involved in a maritime catastrophe. The most famous case in recent history involves the sinking of another Norwegian car carrier — the MV Tricolor.

In December of 2002, the vessel sank in the North Sea after a collision with the Bahamanian cargo ship Kariba.

Following the collision, the Tricolor capsized and went down within half an hour. Fortunately, all 24 crew members made it safety.

Tricolor ship collisionREUTERS/Theirry RogeA photographer takes a picture of the wreckage of the Bahamas registered Kariba container ship at the Belgian port of Antwerp.

At the time of its sinking, the Tricolor was on its way to Southampton from Belgium with a shipment of 2,871 luxury cars from BMW, Saab, and Volvo.

According to Jalopnik, the automotive cargo held a total value of $US100 million. 
This included a shipment of early production run Volvo XC90 SUVs — a highly coveted vehicle at the time.

The Tricolor came to rest in one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. The wreck was reportedly struck by no fewer than three ships after its sinking.

The vessel settled in about 100-feet of water, 20 miles off the coast of France. According to Australia’s Drive, Smit International — a Dutch salvage company — was contracted to recover the 55,000 ton car carrier from the sea floor in 2003. 

Tricolor ShipREUTERS/Francois LenoirWhat used to be Volvo wagons.

Smit — the same company tasked with salvaging the stricken Kursk nuclear submarine from the bottom of the Barents Sea in 2000 — chose not to refloat the entire vessel. Instead, the firm used high-tension wires to cut the ship in 9 segments. 

Tricolor ShipREUTERS/ Francois LenoirThe MV Tricolor in multiple pieces.

Sadly, none of the Triocolor’s luxury cars bound for the US could be rescued.

The Osaka’s cargo is likely to be in much better condition. Which leads bargain hunters to ask the question, “Can I get a hefty discount on a salvage-titled Jag?”

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