By on January 2, 2019

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The mundane process of shipping thousands of vehicles from overseas factories to domestic ports, ahead of distribution to dealers, still contains an element of risk. And few situations are as feared by sailors as a fire at sea.

Reports are rolling in about the fate of the Sincerity Acea Panamanian-flagged car carrier en route from Japan to the United States. Ablaze and adrift in the mid Pacific, the ship, which has a capacity of 5,200 vehicles, has been abandoned. A rescue is underway, as is a salvage operation.

According to Automotive News, the ship’s captain reported a fire Monday morning. The 10-year-old ship, chartered to Mistui OSK Lines by owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha, reportedly loaded its cargo at Nissan terminals in Japan and was en route to its first stop in Honolulu, Hawaii, when the fire broke out. Other ports of call on the ship’s itinerary included Mexico and stops along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Nissan hasn’t confirmed its products were aboard the stricken ship.

While 16 members of the Sincerity Ace‘s crew were reportedly rescued by merchant vessels responding to the distress call, U.S. Coast Guard aircraft are scouring the rough seas for others. Seatrade Maritime News reports two missing crewmen, with three others presumed dead. Ocean swells in the are are said to be 15 to 18 feet high.

“Three of the five missing mariners reportedly were located but remain in the water as they are unresponsive and unable to grab onto life-saving equipment to be brought aboard,” the USCG told the shipping publication. “The owners of the Sincerity Ace are coordinating with the merchant vessels for the transport of the rescued mariners. A salvage plan is being formalized and commercial tugs have been dispatched by the company.”

The ship is still on fire, the Coast Guard reports. As for the cause of the blaze, that remains a mystery.

[Image: Nissan]

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71 Comments on “U.S.-bound Car Carrier on Fire In Pacific; Said to Hold Nissans...”


  • avatar
    jh26036

    Insurance fraud, I am calling it. Nissan was going to have trouble selling whatever is from Japan anyways. All their cash cows are from Tennessee.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      Now that Japan has officially resumed commercial whaling, I avoid new vehicles that have a serial number starting with ‘J’.
      Hopefully others feel the same.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I value the lives of whalers over those of whales. If you don’t, you really ought to look into the reason.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Add Lightness, I’m with you. With modern technology, whaling is hardly a hunt. It is a disgrace to murder such beautiful sea life. As for the hunters, if they die at sea I don’t care. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I liked the policy of Kenya(?) who shot suspected poachers on site. No questions first. Just death for death.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          golden2husky,
          Do you swerve around moths when you drive down the highway, scan the sidewalk for ants when you walk down the street? Under your ‘logic,’ you should probably do whatever it takes to stop killing beings of equal worth to yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          ” I liked the policy of Kenya(?) who shot suspected…”

          Yes, I like anyone’s policy of shooting suspects and then sorting out the details later. So very efficient.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            JohnTaurus, that is not something I would ever endorse in a civilized world. But Kenya and the like are nothing like a civilized world and the savages are driving a beautiful animal to extinction over stupid money. Under those conditions, I stand by what I said. Kill all suspected poachers on sight. It is the only deterrent available there. The poaching scum only care about themselves, so taking the only thing that matters to them – their lives – will stop the slaughter.

      • 0 avatar
        Secret Hi5

        What car-making country is not guilty of some atrocity or practice that harm the planet? Maybe Sweden? But Volvo is China-owned now. So I guess it’s back to walking for you, on hand-made organically-grown hemp sandals.

        • 0 avatar
          CaddyDaddy

          Sweden, innocent?? I guess just sticking your head in the sand to evil and doing nothing is a a way to elevate oneself as the stalwart bastion of the perfect conuntry in the Left’s opinion. Argh…. Unless we want to talk about being a major steel supplier to the 3rd Reich in exchange for so called pacifist nuetrality.

          • 0 avatar
            Secret Hi5

            So NO COUNTRY is innocent. Boycotting a company for actions not in that company’s control doesn’t make sense to me.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            So…

            Boycotting Japanese goods because of that country’s policy on whaling is bad.

            Boycotting Chinese goods because of that country’s policy on trade makes sense.

            Got it.

            People are allowed to boycott whatever they want for whatever reason they want. Let’s move on, shall we?

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        The devil is somewhat in the details. Because Japan has left the International Whaling Commission, this new commercial whaling has to be confined to Japanese territorial waters. That means the illegal Antarctic whaling, under the guise of being research, will no longer be happening.

        Though this means whales will continue to be killed, Paul Watson, of the Sea Shepherd Society, has expressed satisfaction with this turn of events. Sea Shepherd fought Japanese whaling in the Antarctic whaling conservancy for many years until Japanese use of military surveillance satellites meant that their whalers always knew where the Sea Shepherd vessels were and could avoid them.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Lets ignore Apple – 25 people killed themselves so they don’t have to make iPhones

        • 0 avatar
          KevinC

          “So they don’t have to make iPhones” Right. From Wikipedia:

          “Although the number of workplace suicides at the company was large in absolute terms, the rate is still low when compared to the rest of China. (However, the country has a high suicide rate with over 20 deaths per 100,000 persons.) In 2010, the worst year for workplace suicides at Foxconn with a total of 14 deaths, the total employee count was a reported 930,000 people. The average workplace suicide rate for Foxconn that year was 1.5 per 100,000 making it well below the national average suicide rate (around 7% of the national average).”

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            @KevinC

            I was sarcastic, just to show that you can find reasons to revolt against any company. Although, I personally don’t buy any Apple products. I also (principally) don’t buy German cars; cars made in Mexico and/or China.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    What do you call 5,200 Nissans being lost at sea?

    A good start.

    • 0 avatar
      mittencuh

      Dude, people died.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Very sad. My heart goes out to the families.

      • 0 avatar
        thejohnnycanuck

        Dude, it’s a car blog.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Let me tell you something about people died – they would die anyways. Even more died on the same day. I suspect today, in Chicago, even more died from violent crime. Stop it.

        • 0 avatar
          quaquaqua

          What does that even mean? Do you think that’s how doctors look at their patients? “Eh, they would have died anyway.” By the way — no news of any murders today in Chicago. You do know it’s nowhere near as deadly as, like, a dozen other major cities in the US, right? St Louis, Baltimore, Detroit heck, even Memphis is deadlier. Not to mention the smaller cities like Compton, which can be even more dangerous on the whole.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Chicago is a whipping boy for folks of a certain political bent.

            (cough…cough…Obama’s hometown…cough…cough)

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            5 shot in Chicago during first day of 2019

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, gosh, given your raised-middle-finger attitude towards life, I’d think you would call that progress.

            But who am I kidding? We both know you’re trolling.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @slavuta,

          “Let me tell you something about people died – they would die anyways. Even more died on the same day. I suspect today, in Chicago, even more died from violent crime. Stop it.”

          What a ridiculous argument.

          My son (an 8 year old history buff) saw a man in his 90s wearing a hat that said “WWII Veteran” the other day at a waffle house. My son went over and introduced himself very politely.

          You can’t pretend that his contemporaries who were killed in the early 1940s didn’t miss out on 75 years of life just because “they would have died anyway”.

          There’s an enormous difference between being gunned down or burned to death in the prime of your life — or dying in your 90s surrounded by friends and family (and maybe the occasional 8 year old who REALLY wants to hear your stories).

          And, yes, the loss of people to gun crime is tragic, too. I’ve felt the pain of gun violence in my community, too, so I’m deeply empathetic. The solutions are obvious.

        • 0 avatar
          KevinC

          Funny, 30 seconds ago you were concerned about the Foxconn workers in China committing suicide. These poor sailors, eh, they were gonna die anyways. That’s peculiar.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            @KevinC

            You worry too much about other people thoughts. So far you critique mine without telling what your feelings are. Feel the difference?

    • 0 avatar
      caladan59

      Good one, Johnny. Hello

    • 0 avatar
      JoDa

      Dude, my grandmother was on that ship.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Up to five people may have died: B&B decide it’s wise cracking time. Classy!

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Way to take your masks off, cretins! I guess some people are such complete garbage that they have no reason to assume the lives of others are of any worth.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    My condolences to the families of the crewmembers lost at sea. I imagine that the ship will either sink on its own, or will have to be sunk or scuttled. Given the seas being reported, an 1,800 mile tow to Honolulu would be tricky, and expensive. Better to take an insurance loss on this one.

    The Automotive News article also mentions the 2006 incident involving the MV Cougar Ace, which suffered a ballast transfer problem, causing the ship to list severely. The ship was righted and towed to Alaska, then Mazda ended up scrapping 4,703 new vehicles, including the first ever shipment of CX-9s destined for the US.

    It was thought that the rotary engines from the RX-8s could be donated to trade schools and high school auto shop programs, and maybe some of the Miatas could be sold for off-road (racing) use, but in the end, a ten-minute meeting sealed their fate, with everything down to and including the lug nuts (collected in buckets) being scrapped. There was an article in Car and Driver that covered the story very well, including shots of vehicles going up a conveyor and into a shredder.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I recall that incident. It was a shame to waste resources like that by destroying the cars. Why not strip them of their VIN numbers and donate them to trade schools for a few years before destroying them?

      • 0 avatar
        jh26036

        Because thanks to dishonest people, those cars would somehow get back on the road and Mazda doesn’t need that risk. A bad incident with an affected car could totally destroy a small company like Mazda.

        Not to mention, insurance exist for this very reason.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Yeah, I was disappointed at the time (some of the vehicles suffered little or no damage), but I could understand Mazda’s position. It could have turned into a PR and liability nightmare.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            I am certain that once the insurance company pays the claim, the insurance company owns the cars in question and it is their decision as to what to do with them, not Mazda (then) or Nissan now. They may be able to ask but in the end the party who pays the claim decides how to mitigate their loss.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      The Cougar Ace story went on and on, and the full account is worth looking up to read. Unfortunately one of the salvage crew died. He fell down a deck while the ship was still on a sharp list.

      Although most of the cars were Mazdas, there were some other makes aboard. Only a few cars were damaged by the ship being almost on its side for a month or so. There are pictures from the holds. The ship was towed to sheltered water in the Aleutians, carefully righted, and went to Portland(?) to be unloaded.

      The main damage was leaking fluids. An attempt was made to clean them, but was considered unsatisfactory. So the best way to keep them off the market was to scrap them. Just another price of larceny, I guess.

      Another car ship story was the Vanlene, which ran aground on the west coast of Vancouver Island with a cargo of Toyotas. For weeks people went out to take parts off the cars.

      This fire event sounds very serious if crew have died.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Hope it wasn’t a Leaf battery that started the blaze. I wonder if cargo ships have equipment for putting out chemical fires?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Sailing is still a dangerous business. Hope they find the missing folks.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    The Car Gods have now made their final statement on CVT transmissions….. All joking aside I hope they find the missing crew.,

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Not commenting on article or commentary; merely doing this so I can follow the commentary.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    This is what I call a fire sale

  • avatar
    Mr.EpMini9

    So sad to read about the lives lost. Very tragic start to a new year. My condolences.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Just in case there was any doubt, a few of the W&D have really exposed their true character in these posts.

  • avatar

    I was told that Nissan as well as Toyota and Honda are American companies. What ship carried from Japan? Suntory?

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Burn – Nissan
    Buy – …

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Woof. This one really brought out the super sensitive snowflake side didnt it? When people comment on the cars and people make it an attack on those who died. HUGE eyeroll.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Is this the best place to argue about whales? The world is full of single issue idiots who consistently want to inject their thoughts and opinions , almost always in a forum not suited to their cause.

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