On this day in auto history - December 14th

Mon 14th Dec 2020

It was on this day in 2002 that the Scandinavian cargo ship M/V Tricolor famously capsized and sank in the English channel, taking almost 3,000 luxury cars with it!

Though no human lives were lost in the incident, it rates as the biggest loss in auto exporting history with the retail value of the lost cars estimated to be around £70 million. Around 1,000 birds were also killed in the incident due to a subsequent oil spillage.

Built in 1987, the 50,000 tonne Norwegian-flagged carrier collided with a Bahamian container ship 20 miles north of the French coast whilst travelling from Zeebrugge to Southampton during the early hours.

Whilst the Bahamian ship was able to continue on, Tricolor sank where she was struck and became wedged on her side in 30m of deep waterway, causing havoc in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

A prioritised salvage operation was undertaken by a Dutch firm two months later which lasted for a total of 13 months. The cargo of 2,871 cars - mainly luxury BMW’s and Volvo’s - was removed but could only be recycled for their metal component.