With an estimated £60m worth of vehicles and machinery on board, a team of people are now driving the vehicles, including Land Rovers, Jaguars, Porsches and JCB machines, off the vessel at Berth 101 at Southampton docks.
Any vehicles which are significantly damaged or do not start will be towed off the ship. The operation is expected to take until at least the end of the week, if not the start of next week.
Images show large dents and scratched paintwork on some of the vehicles, but a decision will not be made as to the fate of all the vehicles until each car has been fully inspected off the ship.
Höegh has said that water damage only occurred on the bottom deck and the side to which the ship was listing.
While many of the vehicles onboard were destined for Middle Eastern markets, offers to buy the vehicles at knockdown prices have already been flooding in on social media and comment sections.
However, despite the offers, it remains a possibility that all the vehicles could be destroyed. A similar incident occurred in 2006, when the Cougar Ace carrying 4,703 Mazdas lost stability and developed a 60-degree list. It remained that way for a similar period of time to the Osaka, before being righted. The vehicles were strapped down, and most appeared undamaged, but Mazda made the decision to scrap all the vehicles, because it was not known what effect the listing could have had, and it did not want the risk of lawsuits. There were suggestions that engine oil could have leaked, or that sea air could have affected parts.
An expert in risk management told Automotive Logistics, “The Cougar Ace is an understood reference point, even before this grounding, for a lot of OEM and insurer clients, so will no doubt form part of every impacted OEM’s decision making for this incident. It was widely reported at the time, and people are aware of it and what Mazda did.
“There is no protocol in place for this,” he continued. “It’s a judgement call for the individual OEM. If the vehicles are clearly undamaged – no external damages apparent – some marine cargo policies will have a Brands Clause which allows OEMs to write them off to protect their brand. If the affected OEM has a Brands Clause, this course of action becomes more possible as that option is insured.”