Luxury cars

Rough seas delay rescue operation of burning ship carrying luxury cars

The ship, Felicity Ace, which was traveling from Emden, Germany, where Volkswagen has a factory, to Davisville, in the US state of Rhode Island, burned more than 100 km from the Azores islands, Portugal, on February 18 2022. Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa)/Handout via REUTERS

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LISBON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Rough waters forced authorities on Wednesday to postpone a rescue operation of a ship full of luxury cars that had been on fire for a week in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a port official said. .

With crews unable to board the Felicity Ace, heavy tugs sprayed water to cool the vessel, which is carrying around 4,000 vehicles including Porsches, Audis and Bentleys. Read more

The 22 crew members were evacuated last Wednesday, the day the fire broke out.

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Some of the vehicles are electric and their lithium-ion batteries made the fire very difficult to extinguish, port officials said.

João Mendes Cabeças, the captain of the nearest port to the Azorean island of Faial, said the fire had lost its intensity, probably because there was little left to burn. Read more

Rescue teams hoped to board the vessel, which is adrift about 170 km southwest of the Portuguese Azores islands, to assess its condition and begin preparing it for towing, the navy said in a statement Tuesday.

It is not known whether the ship will be towed to the Bahamas or Europe.

Cabeças told Reuters bad weather prevented the team from boarding the vessel. Waves reaching 2.5 meters hit the coast of Faial on Wednesday, the Portuguese weather agency IPMA said.

The rescue team was to be flown to the ship in a helicopter belonging to the Portuguese Air Force, which will decide on Thursday whether the operation can continue, Cabeças said.

The ship’s manager Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) said in a statement on Tuesday that the vessel was still on fire but stable, and no oil leaks had been reported so far. He did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the cause of the fire.

Insurance adjusters said the incident could result in losses of $155 million. Read more

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Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Barbara Lewis

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