Fire goes out on ship carrying luxury cars, with little to burn

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 21 (Reuters) – A blaze that swept through a cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars and adrift off Portugal’s Azores islands has waned, likely because there is little left to burn, a said a port official.

The Felicity Ace, carrying around 4,000 vehicles including Porsches, Audis and Bentleys, some of them electric with lithium-ion batteries, caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.

The 22 crew members on board were evacuated the same day. Read more

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“The fire has calmed down in the last few hours,” João Mendes Cabeças, captain of the nearest port to the Azorean island of Faial, told the Lusa news agency, saying there was probably little fuel left at to burn.

Cabeças told Reuters over the weekend that lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles “keep the fire going”, adding that specialized equipment was needed to put it out. It was unclear whether the batteries started the fire. Read more

He also said the fire was spreading closer to the ship’s fuel tanks.

“Our concern is about pollution because the ship has large amounts of fuel on board and car batteries, but so far there are no pollution hotspots,” Cabeças told Lusa.

As the intensity of the blaze diminishes, firefighting crews and technicians may be able to board the ship to prepare for its tow to Europe or the Bahamas, Cabeças said.

Volkswagen, which owns the brands, did not confirm the total number of cars on board and said on Friday it was awaiting further information.

He did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on next steps to identify the cause of the fire.

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Reporting by Catarina Demony in Lisbon and Victoria Waldersee in Berlin; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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