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Luxury Cars Worth $50 Million Sink in English Channel Ship Collision

Heavy fog is hindering salvage efforts in the English Channel where a Norwegian cargo ship lies sunken on the seabed with nearly 3,000 brand new luxury cars.

The vessel Tricolor lies on its side some 50 kilometers east of the English port of Ramsgate. It is in relatively shallow water and at low tide, part of the hull can been seen just sticking out above the waves.

But the 50,000 ton ship has gone down in a very busy part of the channel and maritime officials say the wreck will have to be moved as soon as it is feasibly possible.

A Dutch salvage ship has arrived on the scene and the first priority will be to inspect the damage and then pump out any oil to minimize the effect on the local environment. It was carrying 2,000 tons of oil on board.

Then efforts will be made to raise the 200 meter vessel and tow it into port. The ship was carrying 2,862 new luxury cars, including BMWs, Volvos and Saabs destined for showrooms in Britain and the United States.

Salvage experts say most if not all of the vehicles will have to be written off as total losses. Their estimated value is put at $50 million.

The Tricolor had left Zeebrugge, Belgium, and was en route to its first port of call, Southampton, England, when it collided with the 20,000 ton container ship Kariba in the busy waterway. The damaged Kariba was able to make it to Antwerp, Belgium. The Tricolor sank within 90 minutes, but all of the crew members were safely rescued.