4000 Luxury Cars are Currently Burning in the middle of the Ocean.
It’s difficult enough to buy a car at the moment, what with the computer chip shortage and ridiculous demand ravaging auto makers. It probably doesn’t help that 4,000 brand-new cars are currently on fire in the middle of the Atlantic.
Help! THE ROOF IS ON FIRE!
The Portugese Navy confirmed on February 23rd that one of its patrol boats came to the aid of the Felicity Ace, a car carrier transiting the Atlantic Ocean that’s currently on fire and adrift off the coast of the Azores, as reported by the Washington Post.
The vessel transmitted a distress signal after the fire broke out in one of the cargo decks, with the ship announced as “not under command” shortly afterwards. Thankfully, the 22 crew on board have been reported as successfully evacuated from the ship.
According to The Drive, the ship carrying the cars, called Felicity Ace, left the port of Emden in Germany on the 10th of February. Its destination was Davisville in Rhode Island.
Onboard the ship were 4,000 vehicles which had recently rolled off the production line at Volkswagen Auto Group. Among the cars were regular VWs, but also fancier makes, like Bentley, Porsche, and Audi.
Unfortunately, no one will ever sit behind the steering wheel of those automobiles.
Luckily, Everyone Was Successfully Evacuated
The Felicity Ace’s journey began uneventfully enough. A week before it was set to arrive in the U.S., the ship reached the Azores Islands, some 900 miles off the coast of Portugal.
The very same morning, the Panama-flagged ship sent out an emergency transmission. Felicity Ace was on fire.
We can only assume the crew did all they could to extinguish the fire, but it seems their efforts weren’t able to slow the inferno. All 22 members of the crew climbed onto lifeboats and abandoned the helpless ship.
The good news is, not a single person was injured and the entire crew is safe. However, that leaves us with the still-burning ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
WHY IS THE ROOF IS STILL ON FIRE!
The cause of the fire is currently unknown. Of course, it’s not possible for anyone to board the ship to investigate the initial cause of the fire. Quartz noted that similar ship fires usually start with an oily rag or a fuel leak in the engine room.
What’s keeping the fire going, though, are likely several electric vehicles in the ship’s cargo hold. Ironically, the batteries in the Electric Vehicles which are touted as more environmentally friendly than gas-fueled cars fueled the flames and allowed the inferno to grow out of control.
The Electric Vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, which come with their own fire safety risks.
A small fire caused by a burning lithium-ion battery can be extinguished with water. Larger fires caused by lithium ion batteries require a foam extinguisher, CO2, ABC dry chemical, powder graphite, copper powder or sodium carbonate.
On the Felicity Ace cargo ship they no longer have a small fire. It’s grown quite large at this point which will require one or all of the chemicals listed above to extinguish. Chemicals that aren’t easily accessible in the middle of the ocean.
They need to hurry it up!
João Mendes Cabeça, the captain of “the port of Faial” in the Azores, told Swissinfo that the special firefighting equipment is on its way to the “Felicity Ace“. However, if they don’t hurry, it’ll be too late.
According to Cabeça the fire is creeping closer to the ship’s fuel tanks. According to the captain, the fire crews are running out of time as the flames are slowly inching towards the cargo ships massive fuel tanks.
“Everything is on fire about five meters above the water line. It is getting closer,” he added.
To make things even more difficult, the fire crews won’t be able to get on the ship. They’ll have to try cooling the ship’s hull from the outside and hope it kills the flames.
“My Dream Cars becoming an Artificial Reef”
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, we have to people who ordered the cars that are on the ship. Luxury cars are often made to order, and that was also the case with many of these high priced exclusive rides.
One of them is Matt Farah, who runs The Smoking Tire YouTube channel. He’s probably thought about the irony in his channel’s name once or twice.
“I ordered a [Porsche] Boxster Spyder in August, and I was very excited to get it at the end of this month, and now it seems like it might become an artificial reef,” Farah told The Drive.
“I’m only saying this because I know no one was hurt, which is obviously more important.”
The Felicity Ace was a dependable work horse!
None of the disappointed would be new car owners could’ve expected things to take a turn of this nature. The “Felicity Ace” has so far served fans of European cars with distinction.
The 650-foot-long ship, built in 2005, has regularly carried both luxury and regular cars across the Atlantic. It was a vessel of choice for the VW Group, and also carried Lamborghinis on several occasions.
Whether there are Lamborghinis on the ship right now, the sports car manufacturer has not confirmed. But if there are, you wouldn’t recognize them as Lamborghinis by now anyway.
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