London: A cargo ship grounded in the UK carried 1,200 high-end luxury cars made by Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover worth up to 100 million pounds and authorities say the vessel can take "weeks or even months" to be refloated.
Salvage experts were working to steady the vessel stuck at the Bramble Bank last night as high-velocity winds were expected to hit the bank tomorrow, The Telegraph reported.
The Hoegh Osaka vehicle carrier had about 1,400 Jaguars and other high-end luxury cars worth a possible 100 million British pounds on board when it began listing dangerously on Saturday night.
The Norwegian cargo ship was deliberately grounded on Bramble Bank, between Southampton and the Isle of Wight in order to prevent it from capsizing as the coast guards rescued the 180-meter-long carrier's 25 crew members.
An investigation was underway into the cause of the listing but Southampton port officials said that "human error" could have played a part.
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that the salvage operation could take "weeks or even months", as strong winds forecast for tomorrow and Friday would make conditions too rough to work.
Salvors boarded the 51,000 tonne vessel yesterday morning and will attempt to right the ship and refloat it as soon as possible.
"Time is the enemy here; the longer the vessel is aground, the more likely she is to become further damaged and to deteriorate," Alex Davis, partner and head of the casualty response team at shipping law firm Stephenson Harwood, was quoted as saying by the British daily.
About 1,400 vehicles are on board the Hoegh Osaka, including 1,200 Tata-owned Jaguars and Land Rover cars, 65 Minis, and a Rolls Royce Wraith worth an estimated 2,60,000 British pounds, all destined for the Middle East.
Jaguar Land Rover has refused to disclose which models were on board, but 1,200 of their top-end models could easily exceed 100 million British pounds.
About 80 pieces of heavy construction equipment including JCBs were also on board.
The ship is listing at an angle of about 50 degrees, meaning much of the cargo is likely to have piled up in the low side of the ship.