Salvage workers yesterday boarded the 51,000-tonne Hoegh Osaka which was deliberately stranded on the Bramble Bank between Southampton and the Isle of Wight
The vessel began to list as it left the port, forcing the captain and pilot to take the emergency action of beaching it on the sandbank to prevent it turning over into the sea.
A Jaguar Land Rover spokesman said: “We can confirm that we do have roughly 1,200 Jaguar and Land Rover products aboard the stricken ship.
“Until such time as the salvage operation can safely begin, we can tell you nothing further about the implications for the cargo. However, the most important consideration is that the crew are safe and well.”
A spokesman for JCB said it has 105 pieces of construction equipment on the carrier, including 50-tonne and 33-tonne tracked excavators.
The incident prompted a major rescue operation with the 24 crew members and a pilot having to be taken to safety by coastguard helicopter and RNLI lifeboats. Two people suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to hospital.
The 180-metre Singapore-registered ship is listing at 45 degrees and the salvage operation is expected to take days, possibly weeks.
A 200-metre exclusion zone has been set up around the ship to prevent small vessels interfering with the tugs and other shipping. Salvage company Svitzer has been appointed to lead the operation to refloat the ship.
Simon Boxall, oceanographer at the University of Southampton’s National Oceanography Centre, said a close inspection would have to be carried out to establish whether the ship had been damaged and whether the cargo of cars had shifted inside.
He said: “The key thing is take things gently. There were reports of trying to refloat it yesterday but they weren’t planning to. The reason is they want to know if the structure is still together. They don’t want to just drag it off and it splits in two, causing the major disaster that they have so far avoided.”