- Lithum-ion batteries in electric cars keeping blaze alight
- Towing boats en route next week, salvage team on ship
- Crew unharmed and evacuated on Wednesday – navy
BERLIN/LISBON – A cargo ship carrying around 4,000 vehicles, including Porsches, Audis and Bentleys, that caught fire near the coast of the Azores will be towed to another European country or the Bahamas, the captain of the nearest port told Reuters on Friday.
Lithium-ion batteries in the electric cars on board the vehicle carrier Felicity Ace have caught fire and the blaze requires specialist equipment to extinguish, captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas said. It was not clear whether the batteries first sparked the fire.
The vessel’s 22 crew members were all rescued.
The fire started in the ship’s cargo hold early on February 16th.
It had left Emden, Germany, on February 10.
There is no word on how much of the cargo ship’s 200m, 60,000-tonne inventory was destroyed in the fire.
Around 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys were on board, spokespeople for the car brands owned by Volkswagen said. Audi, another Volkswagen brand, confirmed some of its vehicles were also on the ship but did not state how many.
Volkswagen did not confirm the total number of cars on board and said it was awaiting further information.
According to the New York Times, one man waiting for the delivery of his US$123,000 (S$165,000) modified 2022 frozen-berry metallic Porsche Boxster Spyder was told that his car was on the ship that was left burning in the ocean.
Destined for the United States.
According to a ship tracking website, the cargo ship bound for the United States was scheduled to arrive in Davisville, Rhode Island, on Feb. 16.
On Wednesday, the ship was about 320 kilometers from Terceira Island in the Azores, a Portuguese island territory, when Portuguese forces arrived to evacuate the crew.
According to The Drive, an automotive website, the Volkswagen Group estimated that nearly 4,000 vehicles were on board, including 189 Bentleys.
Low interest rates, higher savings rates, and government stimulus payments have increased demand for such vehicles in the United States.
The loss of any such vehicles comes as automakers struggle to deal with a computer chip shortage.