Concerns surrounding 500t of mixed fuel on board Hoegh Osaka are rising

Concerns surrounding 500t of mixed fuel on board Hoegh Osaka are rising

Many of the 1,300 vehicles currently stranded on the stricken car ship, Hoegh Osaka on a bank outside Southampton, were bound for destinations in Germany and the Middle East.

The condition of around 1,200 Jaguars and Land Rovers, as well as 65 Minis, one Rolls-Royce Wraith and other possible vehicles, is not known following the deliberate grounding of the ship on Saturday (3 January) evening after the vessel developed a severe list when leaving Southampton.

Danish salvors, Svitzer, are currently on board the Norwegian vessel, which although not yet leaking any of its 500t of mixed fuel, has triggered the UK spill response level to one of active readiness.

The Port of Southampton - a key transit point for UK vehicle entry and exit - is operating normally so far today (5 January) as multiple British authorities including those from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency as well as UK government work with Svitzer to develop a salvage plan.

"At the moment we can't comment on the salvage operation - there is an assessment being made and then they present a plan to SOSREP [Secretary of State Representative] who says this is good or not good," a spokesman for Hoegh Osaka owners, Hoegh Autoliners, told just-auto. "That is being worked on at the moment.

"It [Hoegh Osaka] was on its way to Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Suez Canal, Jeddah, Sohar [Oman], Jebal Ali [Dubai], Bahrain, Damman, Kuwait, Mumbai and Chennai."

Hoegh Autoliners chief executive, Ingar Skiaker, has now returned to Norway following a lightning visit to Southampton, but further details from the assessment are expected later today.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) earlier confirmed to just-auto it had 1,200 of its vehicles on board the ship, while BMW also has 65 Minis thought to be worth more than GBP1.3m (US$2m) as well as the Wraith, but their status remains unknown.

"The last thing we heard was confirmation of what cars we have got on board, but we have not had any further information regarding their condition," a BMW spokeswoman told just-auto. "They were all destined for customers in the Middle East.

"If you were to take an average retail price of around GBP20,000 per car [Mini], that would give you somewhere [around] GBP1.3m. Most, if not all, Rolls-Royce cars are bespoke."

The BMW spokeswoman added the automaker had its "normal insurance."

Southampton Port is operating normally, but major concerns remain as to the fate of the hundreds of tonnes of mixed fuel on board the Hoegh Osaka.

Authorities have established a 200m exclusion zone around the vessel, while a one mile and 2,000ft air restriction has also been created as the ship continues to list at what looks at least a 45 degree angle.

However, of worry to the authorities could be current weather conditions, which show a 20kt wind for Bramble Bank outside Southampton where the 51,000t ship is beached, gusting to a possible 24.5kt.

Southampton is the UK's principal automotive port.

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