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Up In Smoke

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  • Up In Smoke

    The Felicity Ace, ship full of luxury cars is shown on February 17, stranded in the middle of the Atlantic. It caught fire in the North Atlantic on Wednesday, as it carried cargo including Porsches and Volkswagens from Emden, Germany to Davisville, Rhode Island. After a fire broke out in the cargo hold, it spread and forced all 22 crew members to abandon ship. The crew was safely picked up by the Portuguese Navy.
    New York (CNN Business)An abandoned cargo ship packed with cars is adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, after a rapidly-spreading fire on board forced the crew to escape.

    The 656 foot-long Felicity Ace roll-on/roll-off car-carrying ship caught fire in the North Atlantic on Wednesday as it carried cargo, including Porsches and Volkswagens, from Emden, Germany to Davisville, Rhode Island. At the time of the fire's outbreak, the ship was sailing 90 nautical miles southwest of Portugal's Azores, according to a statement on Wednesday by the Portuguese Navy.
    After the fire broke out in the cargo hold, it spread and forced all 22 crew members to abandon ship. According to another statement by the Portuguese Navy, the crew was safely picked up and taken to a local hotel, with the rescue coordinated by the Ponta Delgada Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center. There has been no noticeable source of pollution from the fire, according to the statement.

    The ship's owners have arranged for a tow as it continues to burn. Registered to Panama, the Felicity Alice is operated by Japanese shipping line Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL). MOL has not responded to request for comment.

    Porsche confirmed to CNN Business that a number of its cars were among the cargo and that customers with cars on board the burning ship are being contacted by their dealers.
    "While it remains too early to confirm what occurred and next steps, we are -- along with our colleagues at Porsche AG -- supporting our customers and our dealers as best we can to find solutions," said Angus Fitton, Vice President of PR at Porsche Cars North America. "We are in contact with the shipping company and the details of the cars on board are now known."
    Expectant Porsche owners with cars on board like journalist and host Matt Farah, who said he had a 2022 Porsche Boxster Spyder awaiting delivery, have already started receiving word from dealerships about the status of their vehicles.

    "The dealer confirmed that my car, along with at least a dozen other vehicles they were expecting, is on that boat," Farah said. "They had no further information for me beyond confirming my car was on the boat, and said that as soon as Porsche Cars North America has a plan of any kind with how to proceed, that they would share the plans with me."
    Volkswagen also has customers awaiting vehicles on the burning cargo ship. "We are aware of an incident involving a third-party cargo ship transporting Volkswagen Group vehicles across the Atlantic. The vessel was on its way to North America," said Dirk Ameer, a Volkswagen spokesperson. "At this time, we are not aware of any injuries. We are in contact with the shipping company to get more information about the incident."

    The Felicity Ace can carry over 17,000 metric tons of cargo, according to the Associated Press, with possibly thousands of cars on board . The Portugese Navy said that as of Thursday, the fire is ongoing, and an ocean patrol vessel remains on site to monitor the abandoned ship.

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  • #2
    4,000 Luxury Cars Deposited In Davey Jones's Locker

    The Felicity Ace cargo ship that famously caught fire off the coast of Portugal on Feb. 16 has sunk. An update on the vessel's official information site confirmed the news Tuesday morning, explaining that it had "suffered a list to starboard." Salvage teams remain at the site as they continue to monitor the situation and look out for further incidents.

    This statement, which was first reported on by Road and Track, comes roughly two weeks after the ship caught fire, torching nearly 4,000 cars inside. Most of those were built by Volkswagen Group brands like Bentley, Porsche, and Lamborghini. Salvage crews were finally able to board the Felicity Ace on Friday, Feb. 25, and were towing the boat to safety.

    The ship, which was carrying around 4000 cars, sank after it "suffered a list to starboard," a press release from its operators said Tuesday. The Felicity Ace became submerged around 253 miles away from the Portuguese archipelago of Azores around 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the Felicity Ace told Road & Track the information comes from a local ship salvage team. Bloomberg reports that the ship and its salvage crews were fighting harsh seas before it sunk.

    “The weather was pretty rough out there,” Pat Adamson, a spokesperson for the Felicity Ace's operator, MOL Ship Management, said to Bloomberg. “And then she sank, which was a surprise.”

    Before Tuesday, the last update from the vessel's owners, Japan-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines transportation company (MOL), came on February 25, saying the boat was stable and had been boarded by salvage crews. The company said it was using a salvage vessel to move the Felicity Ace to a safe area off Azores.

    The troubles began on February 16, when the vessel caught fire while en route from Emden, Germany to Davisville, Rhode Island. The fire continued for several days, finally dying down on February 25, according to MOL. All crew were evacuated without injury, and the ship was abandoned. The Felicity Ace's fire was reportedly complicated by a number of electric cars onboard, with batteries that caught fire. It's still unclear what initially caused the blaze.
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