An ill-fated cargo ship called the Felicity Ace caught ablaze near the coast of the Azores on Wednesday, February 16 and with all 22 crew members rescued by the Portuguese navy with the help of four merchant ships, the 656-foot vessel continues to burn adrift in the Atlantic.
The Felicity Ace is drifting along with some rather precious cargo on board, precious at least to the prospective owners of the 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys on board, the Bentleys worth an estimated 30 million dollars just by themselves. A total number of 4,000 cars are on board the drifting ship, with other high-end examples such as those of Lamborghini and Audi.
Captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas told Reuters that Lithium-ion batteries in the electric cars on board caught fire and that the blaze requires specialist equipment to extinguish.
However, it is not clear whether the fire was first started by the batteries. “The ship is burning from one end to the other… everything is on fire about five metres above the water line,” said Captain Cabecas, before adding that towing boats were on route from Gibraltar and the Netherlands.
Watch the rescue effort below:
The Panama-flagged Felicity Ace is simply too large to be towed to the Azores, as its sheer size would block trade in the port, and instead it seems that the ship may be towed to another European country or across the Atlantic Ocean to the Bahamas.
Having left its origin port of Emden in Germany on Thursday, February 10, the ship was headed to the port of Davisville in the US state of Rhode Island, according to Maritime Traffic website. The ship was expected to arrive in Davisville on Wednesday, February 23, but after this cruel twist of fate, thousands of prospective owners will have to stand by helplessly as their dream cars are engulfed by hungry flames.
One such unfortunate prospective owner is Matt Farah, a car enthusiast and editor of The Smoking Tire, who had been waiting for his highly specified 120 thousand dollar 2022 Boxster Spyder since August last year.
That following day, a Porsche representative confirmed to Mr Farah that his car was indeed on the boat and apologised for the inconvenience. Some inconvenience.