Luxury cars

The blaze that left a freighter full of luxury cars stranded in the Atlantic may finally be extinguished

The 656 foot long Felicity Ace roll-on/roll-off car-carrying vessel caught fire in the North Atlantic last Wednesday while it carries approximately 4,000 vehicles, including Porsches, Volkswagens, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Audis from Emden, Germany to Davisville, Rhode Island. All 22 crew on board safely abandoned ship after the fire began to spread.

Five days after the cargo ship and the luxury cars it was carrying started burning 90 nautical miles southwest of the Portuguese Azores islands, Captain João Mendes Cabeças told Portuguese news agency Lusa . that “the fire had died down in recent hours”, thanks to the lack of materials left to cross.

Two large tugs arrived at the scene on Tuesday from Gibraltar and douse the ship with water to cool it down, according to a statement from the owner of the Felicity Ace, Japanese shipping operator Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL). The tugs will also help position the Felicity Ace as safety conditions are assessed. Once approved, the initial salvage team will board and provide more information on the damage as well as next steps. Two lifeboats are en route to the freighter to assist with firefighting and towing, the statement said.

Cabecas said Reuters over the weekend that the fire was fueled by the lithium-ion batteries of the electric cars on board, with the flames moving closer and closer to the ship’s fuel tanks. The potential environmental impact of the fire is one of the main concerns of the Portuguese Navy. Pollution is a high risk with the large amount of fuel and car batteries present.

There are currently no confirmed oil leaks from the stable vessel, according to the MOL statement on Tuesday.

The giant freighter has $334.5 million worth of burning cars on board, according to consulting firm Anderson Economic Group (AEG) estimated in a new report. The only salvage cost is estimated at $150 million – bringing the ship’s total loss to half a billion dollars, the group estimates.

Porsche has sent a letter to affected car dealerships stating that all lost cars will be rebuilt and delivered as soon as possible, according to journalist and TV host Matt Farah, whose new 2022 Porsche Boxster Spyder was among those lost at sea. According to AEG and Reuters, around 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys were lost on the ship, including many high-end custom models that would collectively exceed $140 million.

Volkswagen Group, which owns Lamborghini, Porsche and Audi, confirmed to CNN Business that the vessel was carrying its vehicles but gave no further details.

Once deemed safe, the Felicity Ace will be towed to another European country or the Bahamas, Cabecas told Reuters.