A fire broke out in the cargo hold of the Felicity Ace ship, packed full of Volkswagen cars, en route from Germany to the United States. The crew had to evacuate, after which the ship, engulfed in fire, was left to drift in the North Atlantic.
A 200-meter Felicity Ace ro-ro delivered from Emden, Germany, to Davisville, USA, cars of the Volkswagen and Porsche brands. According to the Portuguese Navy, when the ship was 90 nautical miles southwest of the Portuguese Azores on February 17, a fire broke out on board. The fire quickly spread and forced all 22 crew members to abandon the ship, CNN reported.
According to another statement from the Portuguese Navy, the crew was safely picked up and taken to a hotel in Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel Island. According to preliminary information, no significant sources of pollution from the fire were found.
Abandoned ship continues to burn, however, the owners intend to tow it. Felicity Ace built in 2005 and registered in Panama. Currently operated by the Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).
Volkswagen and Porsche have confirmed that the Felicity Ace is carrying vehicles for American customers. Dealers are already contacting them to say that the ordered cars will not be delivered within the stated time.
According to the Associated Press, the Felicity Ace is capable of carrying 17,000 metric tons of cargo, with more than a thousand vehicles on board. While the ship continues to burn, a Portuguese Navy patrol ship looks after it.
Portuguese Air Force released a video of the rescue operation:
In 2020, the cargo ship MV Golden Ray capsized off the coast of the United States, carrying about four thousand cars of various brands, mainly Hyundai and Kia. It was not possible to tow it from the scene and remove the cargo, as a result, the ship was cut with chains and disposed of in parts along with all the contents.