Vessel Carrying More Than A Thousand Porsches 'Still Burning' In The Middle Of The Ocean

Poppy Bilderbeck

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Vessel Carrying More Than A Thousand Porsches 'Still Burning' In The Middle Of The Ocean

Featured Image Credit: @RetroTechNoir/Twitter/Portuguese Navy

A cargo ship carrying thousands of Volkswagen vehicles and Porsches is reportedly still on fire in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

The Felicity Ace first set alight on Tuesday, February 16 at around 11.30am CET while on its way to Davisville, Rhode Island from Emden, Germany.

The 22-strong crew sent out a distress signal and were rescued by the Portuguese navy. However, nearly 4,000 Volkswagen vehicles, Porsches, Bentleys and Audis were left behind on the 200-metre-long ship which is reported as still being alight adrift the ocean.

While it's still not clear what first sparked the blaze, it was deduced that the lithium-ion batteries in some of the electric cars onboard were 'keeping the fire alive', Reuters reports.

Captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas earlier explained the fire requires special equipment to put out. 'The ship is burning from one end to the other... everything is on fire about five metres above the water line', he stated.

The ship was built in 2005 and can carry 17,738 tonnes of weight. It's operated by MOL Ship Management and owned by Snowcape Car Carriers (which is owned by MOL).

According to MOL, the ship is currently drifting away from the islands and is still on fire, SWZ Maritime reports.

However, the movement of the ship is being monitored by the Ponta Delgada Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), that also reportedly has a warship standing by.

As per MOL, a local patrol boat manned by the Smit Salvage team - a group of sixteen experts in 'first response' actions needed to safeguard crew, ship, [and] cargo' - is also close by to the vessel, having arrived the day after it set alight.

It's hoped that by the end of the week the Felicity Ace will be able to be attached to a tug boat, according to Smit Salvage's parent company, Boskalis, as per Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

Two tug boats with suitable equipment to extinguish the fire onboard are reportedly on their way to help the vessel.

Yesterday, February 20, the Alp Maritime Services' Alp Guard, which was used during the blockage of the Suez Canal by the Ever Given, also arrived at the scene.

The second tug is set to arrive today, February 21, from Gibraltar. Cabecas stated there are plans to tow the ship to another country in Europe or to the Bahamas.

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Topics: News, World News, Travel

Poppy Bilderbeck
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