When a cargo ship carrying hundreds of luxury cars caught fire in the middle of the ocean, all 22 crew members were thankfully rescued.
However, the 4,000 luxury cars on board were not so lucky, as it wasn’t possible to salvage them that easily.
Now, it’s feared that the vehicles will be lost for good, as the ship has sunk into the Atlantic Ocean.
Looks like for many customers who shelled out for an expensive car, their purchases are literally dead in the water.
The sinking of cargo ship Felicity Ace was announced by the Portuguese Navy in a media release on Tuesday (1 Mar).
The stricken ship had caught fire in mid-Feb and was drifting some 170km south-west of the Azores Islands chain that’s part of Portugal.
It was being towed since 24 Feb, but lost stability and sank on the morning of 1 Mar.
A Portuguese port official told Reuters that water had come into the ship when the towing started, resulting in the loss of stability.
He blamed structural problems caused by the fire and rough seas.
The last resting place of the unfortunate ship is about 25 nautical miles (46km) outside the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Portugal, the Navy said.
That area of the ocean is around 3,000m deep, they added.
The Portuguese Navy is monitoring the situation, namely through the Hydrographic Institute, which is continuing to update the drift calculations of its current spot.
Portuguese ship NRP Setúbal will also return to the area where the ship sank to monitor the situation.
The ship left behind a small patch of oily waste, which is being dispersed by water jets.
So far, it’s outside the Exclusive Economic Zone of Portugal, the Navy said in another release on Wednesday (2 Mar).
The spill is being monitored by the authorities, mainly for possible pollution.
The port official said the ship’s fuel tanks are also feared to be damaged.
The Felicity Ace was carrying around 4,000 vehicles manufactured by the Volkswagen Group, Reuters reported.
Volkswagen has said that the vehicles were covered by insurance, but insurance experts estimate the losses to be up to S$211 million (US$155 million).
Porsche has also said that about 1,100 of its models are on board, as well as 189 Bentleys, said an earlier BBC report.
Other vehicles on the ship include Audis and Lamborghinis.
While cars are ultimately inanimate objects, the incident has also affected people.
For example, a customer with the ironically apt handle @TheSmokingTire posted on Twitter that his dealer had informed him that his Porsche is on the Felicity Ace.
The 200m-long Felicity Ace is registered to Panama and was built in 2005, according to VesselFinder.com.
It’s managed by MOL Shipmanagement Singapore, according to a website set up to update the public on incidents involving the ship.
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.
Obviously, it hasn’t made it, and will probably never.
On the bright side, there haven’t been any human casualties as a result of this incident.
However, there may be considerable environmental impact when a large ship with fuel in it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
Let’s hope the relevant authorities can take steps to minimise any possible pollution.
As for the luxury cars, they’re probably going to spend a long time in their watery grave, so we should kiss them goodbye.
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Featured image adapted from the Portuguese Navy.
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