LISBON — Heavy tugs sprayed water on a burning ship carrying thousands of Porsches and Bentleys adrift off the Portuguese Azores islands on Tuesday, the ship’s manager said in a statement.
The Felicity Ace, carrying around 4,000 vehicles, including Porsches, Audis and Bentleys, some fitted with lithium-ion Batterycaught fire last Wednesday.
The 22 crew members on board were evacuated the same day.
The vessel’s manager Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) said in a statement that the vessel was still on fire but stable and no oil leaks had been reported so far. He also said the ship was drifting further from the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
Two large tugboats fitted with firefighting equipment arrived from Gibraltar on Monday and were working with another patrol boat to hose down the Felicity Ace and cool it down, the MOL said.
The arrival of two more tugs with more firefighting equipment is scheduled for February 23 and 26.
“Along with all parties involved, MOL is making every effort to contain the damage and resolve the situation as soon as possible,” MOL said.
João Mendes Cabeças, the captain of the nearest port to the Azorean island of Faial, said on Sunday that the fire had lost its intensity, probably because there was little left to burn.
Cabeças said that as the fire subsides and the structure cools, fire crews and technicians may be able to board the ship to prepare to tow it to Europe or the Bahamas.
“When conditions are safe, the rescue team will board the Felicity Ace for an initial assessment,” MOL added.
Cabeças told Reuters over the weekend that lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles “keep the fire going”. It was unclear whether the batteries had caused the fire.
MOL did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the cause of the fire.
Volkswagen, owner of the auto brands, said Monday it had no further information to share.