When a fire breaks out on a ship, the immediate concern is undoubtedly the safety of the crew.
So after all 22 crew members were rescued from a burning cargo ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the rest of the story shouldn’t be of much interest.
But not when the ship is still carrying hundreds of luxury cars, including Porsches and Bentleys.
It looks like many customers who’ve shelled out for an expensive car may find that their purchases are literally going up in smoke.
The cargo ship, Felicity Ace, unfortunately caught fire while it was in the Atlantic Ocean.
As of Thursday (17 Feb), it was drifting some 170km south-west of Faial Island, according to a media release from the Portuguese Navy’s website.
The island is part of the Azores Islands chain that’s part of Portugal.
Here’s the ship’s approximate location according to VesselFinder.com.
While the fire is still actively burning, the ship remains “stable”, the Navy said.
The 200m-long Felicity Ace is registered to Panama and was built in 2005, according to VesselFinder.com.
It left the port of Emden, Germany on 10 Feb and was heading to Davisville in the United States (US). It was scheduled to reach its destination on 23 Feb.
After the fire broke out in the hold – where the cars are – the Felicity Ace sounded the alarm, reported Marine Insight.
The Portuguese military then sprang into action, with the Air Force locating the burning vessel.
They airlifted the 22 crew members safely using helicopters.
A Portuguese Navy ocean patrol vessel remains on site to monitor the situation.
No traces of pollution are visible in the area so far, the Navy said.
Now that the crew members are safe, attention has turned to the precious cargo on board.
The Felicity Ace, which specialises in carrying cars, can carry more than 17,000 metric tons of cargo, according to the Associated Press.
That means it can carry thousands of cars over multiple decks in its hold. Many of them are luxury cars.
Volkswagen USA has revealed that the ship is carrying at least 3,965 luxury vehicles, reported the BBC. They include brands like:
Porsche has also said that about 1,100 of its models are on board.
On Thursday (17 Feb), a netizen uploaded a screenshot from Porsche’s customer order tracking website, acknowledging an “incident” on board the Felicity Ace that is “carrying certain Porsche vehicles”.
Another customer named Matt Farah, with the ironically apt handle @TheSmokingTire, posted on Twitter that his dealer had called him with some bad news – his Porsche is on the Felicity Ace.
In a follow-up tweet, Mr Farah said Porsche will update his dealer on what they will do about the situation.
189 Bentleys are also on the burning ship, the BBC reported.
A Bentley spokesman told the station that they’re working with the shipping company to find out more.
Many luxury car buyers will undoubtedly be frustrated over this incident.
However, at least the vehicles, while expensive, are inanimate objects.
What’s more important were the human lives on board, so kudos to the Portuguese military for evacuating the crew members.
Let’s hope that the ship fire can be brought under control soon.
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Featured image adapted from the Portuguese Navy.
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