Volkswagen’s fire on the high seas

The freighter Felicity Ace, which is carrying around 4,000 cars from the Volkswagen Group, is floating in the Atlantic Ocean near the Azores after the crew was forced to abandon the vessel due to a fire.

Because of the batteries of the electric cars on board, it is difficult to put out the fire. While the crew has been evacuated, the fire situation remains dire: “The ship is burning from one end to the other… everything is on fire about five metres above the water line,” said captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas.

In addition to the size of the fire presenting difficulties, the size of the vessel is also problematic, as it can’t simply be towed somewhere more manageable. Thus, a 16-person salvage team was sent from Smit Salvage to the ship to help control the flames.

Update 02 March 2022

The freighter Felicity Ace, loaded with around 4,000 Volkswagen Group cars, has now sunk while the ship was being towed. The freighter was also carrying an unknown number of the VW ID.4 electric cars. The vehicles’ batteries are said to have contributed to the fire being difficult to extinguish. It is not clear whether they were also the cause of the fire.

According to the Dutch salvage company that has since been commissioned, the fire already went out on its own last week. The sinking makes the search for the cause much more difficult. Bad weather is said to have contributed to the sinking


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