By on March 1, 2022

After two weeks of smoldering in the Atlantic Ocean, a cargo ship loaded with several thousand German automobiles has sunk. Packed with over 4,000 vehicles from Volkswagen Group, the Felicity Ace (pictured) originally gained notoriety for being a successful fire rescue mission conducted in open waters. But it was later revealed that a large number of the cars onboard were higher-end products from brands like Audi, Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini — making the salvage operation that followed likewise engaging.

Due to the immense size of the Felicity Ace, it would need to be towed several hundred nautical miles back toward Portugal so it could be serviced. Crews reportedly arrived on February 25th to evaluate the ship and prepare it for the trip back East. However, the cargo vessel began listing until it started to fall onto its starboard side and is now deemed unsalvageable. It’s assumed that the craft will be sinking near its current position, roughly 220 nautical miles from off the Portuguese Azores, taking its vehicular cargo along for the ride. 

While it’s been hard getting timely or verifiable information on the ship, it does have a website dedicated to giving updates on its present status. Singapore’s MOL Ship Management has been helping to organize the salvage operation, the Felicity Ace flies a Panamanian flag, the Portuguese Navy and Air Force were responsible for the initial rescue, and the tow vessels are primarily from the Netherlands.

The original plan was to use a large salvage craft, called Bear, to haul the ship closer to the Azores so that it could be more thoroughly inspected before being towed back to the coast of Portugal. Assistance was given by the ALP Guard and Dian Kingdom tugs, which flanked the ship. Despite the ship having continued smoking for a number of days, it was assumed that the fire was dying down. Rescue teams had been spraying the vessel with water for days and the Felicity Ace did not appear to be leaking oil, making it eligible for the trip.

But it started listing on Tuesday morning, with the assumption being that it’s just a matter of time before it goes down. While this would be a meaningful setback for any automaker, the high number of premium vehicles has put Volkswagen Group in a difficult position. There are rumors that the lost Lamborghinis will require the company to resume production of the V12 Aventador to make good on existing orders. Several hundred custom Porsche and Bentley vehicles headed for North America will also need to be built again.

The same goes for a gaggle of Audi and VW-branded electric vehicles, though those cars were also going to be part of the subsequent fire investigation after rampant speculation that the blaze was created by their lithium-ion batteries. Rescuers haven’t attributed the blaze (first reported on Feb. 16th) to anything. But it was noted that EV batteries could have exacerbated the problem, encouraging the media to muse over the possibility of a thermal runaway incident starting the fire.

It’s a plausible scenario, though one of many and still lacking any hard evidence. Sadly, any useful information will likely go down with the ship — along with 189 Bentleys, over 1,000 Porsches, several dozen Lamborghinis, and rows upon rows of VW and Audi products.

[Image: Marinha Portuguesa/Portuguese Navy]

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57 Comments on “Cargo Ship Goes Down With Hold Full of German Automobiles...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Are we to expect a deep dive into EV fires? LOL

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      If the ocean can’t extinguish the fire, it could bore a hole through the earth’s crust!

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      Fortunately, the National Academies of Sciences already has one underway:

      Lithium-ion battery fire risks are currently undermanaged in transit operations. At current fleet scales the magnitude of these risks is relatively small; however, there is no widespread understanding of how these risks will be magnified when fleet size increases. Lithium-ion battery fires, while less probable than fires due to combustion engines, are far more difficult to extinguish and may be many times more destructive and dangerous.

      https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5258

      The Sincerity Ace, another Ro Ro that was carrying Nissans, including EVs, suffered a catastrophic fire in 2019, and while the report on that incident has been released to Panama, it hasn’t released it to the public. There is conjecture that it was EV related, perhaps we’ll find out one day. Yes, Ro Ros carrying ICE vehicles have also caught fire, but those were also carrying used cars of varying levels of condition, and some leaked various fluids, contained other flammable substances, and some didn’t have their batteries disconnected as required. The Ace vessels were carrying new vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        Water puts out the fire quickly. The issue is that you need to keep a trickle going to cool the battery and make sure it doesn’t flare up again.

        • 0 avatar
          285exp

          probert, that is a complete crock, you aren’t putting out an EV battery fire easily or with a trickle of water. Not sure if you’re ignorant or dishonest.

          “One recommendation from a Tesla representative is to continue water application on the vehicle for at least 30 minutes after the fire has been suppressed. .Tactically, this may mean using a master stream, 2½-inch or multiple 1¾-inch fire lines, to suppress and cool the fire. Vehicle fires don’t typically call for surround-and-drown tactics, but these are not typical vehicle fires.”

          https://www.firerescue1.com/firefighter-training/articles/tesla-on-fire-how-to-extinguish-an-electric-car-fire-n8dDvmqLHqggmoXr/

          That’s for just one car, think of the amount of water you’d need to put out multiple EV car fires in a cargo hold.

  • avatar
    probert

    a lot of dentists are crying today.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    So because of EVs:

    -More damage was done to the planet to source materials and build them compared to an ICE vehicle.
    -More damage was done to the clean air due to a fire fueled by their batteries.
    -The ship sank because of EVs.
    -We have dozens of burned up, lithium batteries, fluids to make the ICE ship move, chemicals, plastics, etc sitting at the bottom of the ocean.

    Crazy to think that EVs are zero emissions when you consider the above. But burying their head in the sand is something politicians are very good at. Liberals and liberal politicians bury their head somewhere else, but the effect is the same.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      With the extensive fire, I imagine a lot was consumed already, and put into the air. Some or all of the ship’s fuel oil might remain.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      “It’s a plausible scenario, though one of many and still lacking any hard evidence.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The power source of ICE vehicles is, of course, famous for never catching fire*, and no ship carrying ICE vehicles has ever caught fire.

      https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/2020/08/30/auto-cargo-ship-burned-st-johns-river-jacksonville-towed-away/5674390002/
      http://www.maritimebulletin.net/2020/09/27/russian-ro-ro-ship-fire-at-hakata-japan/
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Norman_Atlantic

      *Don’t pay any attention to the “C” in “ICE.” It actually stands for “conspiracy.”

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Gosh, dal, how dare you get in the way of a perfectly unhinged rant?

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        We’ll probably never know what caused it, unless there’s eyewitness testimony from crewmembers of where the fire started, that could be matched up with a map of what models were stowed where. Unless it’s a matter of “we just drive ’em in and tie ’em down where they’ll fit.” Then it could be anybody’s guess.

        • 0 avatar
          ravenuer

          EbFlex knows what caused it. Just ask him.

        • 0 avatar
          Ol Shel

          EBflex already knows what caused it. His political orientation told him so.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Shut the fnck up Shel. Worthless GF Troll. Have you ever made a non political post? Fncking trash

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “EbFlex knows what caused it. Just ask him.”

            “EBflex already knows what caused it. His political orientation told him so.”

            Actually no…I have no idea what caused it. Never implied that I did.

            How are you people this bad at reading comprehension?

            And while politics have nothing to do with this, lets not lose sight of the fact that libs turn every single fire into a political crusade. Wildfires anyone? They act like wildfires never happened before their fake global warming.

      • 0 avatar
        fazalmajid

        I have a better conspiracy theory: it was a heist, the crew were on it, they transferred the cars to a pirate ship then triggered a fire to cause a total loss. Plenty of Bentleys were going to appear on the market in Russia (paid for in gold, naturally). But the French got wind of it and that was the contents of the ship they intercepted in the Channel a few days ago.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “and no ship carrying ICE vehicles has ever caught fire.”

        Who said that? Who even implied that?

        I figured you and Mikey would completely miss the point but then, facts, reason, and truth have never been your strong suit.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          You are the one who concluded, based on exactly zero actual facts, reason, or truth, that this fire was “because of EVs.”

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            All you gotta do is believe, dal.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “You are the one who concluded, based on exactly zero actual facts, reason, or truth, that this fire was “because of EVs.””

            Gotta love cherry picking quotes.

            You are really bad at this. Never once did I conclude that this fire was because of EVs. I have stated explicitly that I do not know what caused the fire.

            However, it’s clear I have to spoon feed this to you and Mikey because basic reading comprehension is beyond your cognitive abilities:

            The fire was FUELED by EV batteries and as a result could not be put out using traditional methods. This was widely reported. As a result, the fire burned longer, thus “More damage was done to the planet to source materials and build them compared to an ICE vehicle, more damage was done to the clean air due to a fire fueled by their batteries, the ship sank because of EVs (because it could not be put out using traditional methods meaning it burned longer).

            Now, come up with a witty retort that ignores reality and is blatantly dishonest.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          > facts, reason, and truth have never been your strong suit.

          Liberals are quite good at projection, however…

          If the investigation does uncover EV batteries as the source, you can bet your bottom dollar the MSM will try and bury the story to the depths of The Witness Protection Program.

      • 0 avatar

        Wasn’t there a lawsuit against Ford after a used ford truck on a transporter being exported out of the US caught fire and took out the ship ? It was a defective ignition switch IIRC, but the fire it caused spread to other cars and then the whole thing…

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      That last sentence was rather unnecessary. This “liberal” sterotype as the root of all evils is is just plain ignorant and bigoted and something of a straw man.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I was about to send a tip on this – according to the AP, the ship has sunk today (Tuesday), 250 miles off of the Azores. I saw this article less than an hour ago:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/massive-cargo-ship-carrying-cars-sinks-in-mid-atlantic/ar-AAUtkg0?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531

    The picture up above tells me that nothing on the ship was salvageable, so even had it made it back to Portugal, it would probably have been scrapped.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The AP article said that VW Group wasn’t saying much about the sinking, but Porsche was reaching out to its dealers, and that replacement vehicles would be built “soon”.

    I’d like to know the position where it sank, and how deep the ocean is there.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Think of all those poor check engine lights which will never be illuminated. Le sigh.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Oh my goodness what terrible news. Does anybody know how many Golf Rs were on board? I probably couldn’t have afforded anything else on there. But still a very sad day for North America’s rich.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Gentlemen, it’s been a privilege playing with you tonight.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’m wondering how much of the ship was aluminum, like the hull plating?

    The lede picture in this article:

    https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/felicity-ace-cargo-ship-sinks-porsche-volkswagen/

    shows the port side of the ship. The plates on the rear 1/3 of the ship seem to have melted or burned away, exposing the supporting structure.

    This article also says that seas were rough at the time of the sinking, which probably didn’t help matters.

    • 0 avatar
      fazalmajid

      Wouldn’t aluminum be too expensive for a cargo ship? I know some of the soon-to-be-scrappedUS Navy Littoral Combat Ships are made of aluminum, along with some luxury yachts and a handful of passenger ferry ships.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        One would think so, but I wouldn’t think steel hull plating would disappear like it did in the picture. I mean, there’s a pretty significant area on the port side where the hull plates were gone. I need to surf and try to find more pics of that side. Just about all the pics I’ve seen show everything except the port side.

  • avatar
    ffighter69

    I thought Bently said they don’t have any vehicles on the ship.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I’m sure the insurer is all torn up about missing the opportunity to handle all that toxic waste in an environmentally responsible manner. After all, no one would scuttle a total loss for the right price.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “Grandpa, with all your billions, how come you never took delivery of a brand-new Lamborghini to use and enjoy?”

    “Well, you see, kids…”

  • avatar
    CrystalEyes

    “…the lost Lamborghinis will require the company to resume production of the V12 Aventador…”

    Why? Can’t they just issue some refunds and call it a day? Or offer to substitute one of their other products?

  • avatar
    Sobro

    We know the VW’s will soon float back to the surface due to their watertight construction.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    …and just like that, all those German cars became U-boats…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Why do I hear the film score for Titanic in my head?

  • avatar
    zipper69

    I can’t believe that a rescue mission with fifty miles of duct tape and five hundred gallons of WD40 hadn’t already been launched.

  • avatar
    fendertweed

    Jeez, the libtard vs fecktard vs trumptard stuff is *so* old and *so* tired …

  • avatar
    rizziriz

    No one talks about the toxicity of making and disposing of Lithium Ion batteries. If people new they would never buy an electric car. Where are the environmentalist now ?

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