Everything about Felicity Ace Fire
February 17, 2022
Car Carrier Felicity Ace Abandoned After Catching Fire in Atlantic Ocean
Felicity Ace caught fire on February 17, 2022, and was abandoned in the North Atlantic near the Azores. After the vehicle carrier caught fire around 90 nautical miles southwest of the Azores island of Faial on Wednesday morning, all 22 crew members of the M/V Felicity Ace safely abandoned the ship and were picked up by a tanker.
The owners of the Felicity Ace arranged for a tow of the burning ship. The Portuguese Navy ship NRP Setúbal remained on scene to monitor the situation. On February 10, the Felicity Ace departed Emden, Germany, and was on way to Davisville, Rhode Island, when a fire broke out in the ship’s cargo hold. According to the website ‘The Drive’, the ship was transporting a cargo of Porsches and Volkswagens.
February 18, 2022
Volkswagen Internal Email Confirms Thousands of Vehicles, Including VW, Porsche, and Audis were On Board Burning ‘Felicity Ace’
According to an internal communication from Volkswagen AG’s U.S. operations, the ship had 3,965 automobiles on board. The Volkswagen Group, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, produces automobiles under the VW, Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini brands, all of which were in tow when the ship caught fire.
According to the email, more than 100 of those automobiles were heading for the Port of Houston in Texas, with VW GTI, Golf R, and ID.4 models all at risk. As per Luke Vandezande, a Porsche representative, the brand thinks that roughly 1,100 of its vehicles were on board Felicity Ace at the time of the incident. On social media, some customers raised their concerns. One Twitter user claimed that his specially designed Porsche Boxter Spyder was on board. The vehicle’s standard variants start at roughly $99,650.
Felicity Ace Car Carrier Continued to Burn in Mid-Atlantic
The ship continued to burn the next day and a salvage team from SMIT was en route to retrieve the abandoned M/V Felicity Ace. It was not clear if the batteries first sparked the fire. The ship was burning from one end to the other – everything was on fire about five meters above the water line.
Severe burns were visible on the bow and along the 200-meter (220-yard) side of the ship, which was constructed in 2005 and can carry 17,738 tonnes of cargo, according to images given by the Portuguese maritime authorities.
February 20, 2022
Lithium-ion Batteries From Electric Vehicles Aboard The Felicity Ace Were Keeping The Fire Alive
Along with 4000 vehicles including Porches, Audis, and Bentleys, Felicity Ace was carrying lithium-ion batteries. Firemen were struggling to put out the fire that broke on the ship. Cabeças claimed lithium-ion batteries in the electric cars on board were “keeping the fire alive,” adding that extinguishing equipment was on its way. However, it was not clear whether the batteries sparked fire or not.
February 21, 2022
Two Large Salvage Tugs Set to Join Felicity Ace Firefighting Effort
Two huge salvage tugs were anticipated to arrive at the Felicity Ace vehicle carrier, which was still floating in the Atlantic Ocean suffering a fire. So far, there were no reports of oil leakage and the vessel was stable. An initial salvage team on board a patrol boat was on-site. Two huge tugs with fire fighting equipment were expected to arrive on the scene and begin spraying water on the ship.
The two tugs would also try to tow the Felicity Ace to keep it from drifting away. The two huge fire-fighting tugs arrived from Gibraltar on Monday, February 21, according to MOL, while an extra “salvage boat” carrying fire fighting equipment will arrive from Rotterdam on February 26, two to three days later than scheduled.
The Portuguese Navy remained on the scene providing 24-hour monitoring of the vessel. The cause of the fire was still unknown.
About $400 Million Worth of Cars Could be Lost in Felicity Ace Fire
According to a risk analyst at Russell Group, the Felicity Ace fire could lead to a loss of at least $115 million for Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini. The vessel was carrying around 4000 vehicles – the exact number was not disclosed.
According to a study by the Russell Group in the United Kingdom, the entire financial worth of commodities on board the ship is believed to be $438 million, with automobiles and commercial vehicles accounting for an estimated $401 million. The calculations are based on the cargo being completely lost.
“This data demonstrates the fragile nature of global supply systems once again. The incident happened at a horrible moment for global automakers, which are experiencing a supply chain difficulty sourcing semiconductors, causing further delays for new vehicles,” said Russell Group’s Managing Director Suki Basi. “An occurrence like this isn’t going to do anything to establish customer trust.”
February 24, 2022
Felicity Ace Continues to Burn Even After a Week
Carrying 4000 vehicles, Felicity Ace continued to burn even after a week of catching fire in the Atlantic Ocean. The white smoke coming off the car carrier reduced as compared to the past days. The fire on the ship was believed to be still burning, according to MOL ship management (Singapore).
At this point, there was no evidence of oil leaking from the ship, and its stability was unaffected. The vessel’s white smoke is still visible, although it has decreased in comparison to the previous several days, according to the report. Two large salvage tugs which arrived at the vessel on Monday from Gibraltar, continued to spray the vessel with water for hull and boundary cooling.
On Thursday, two more salvage ships with firefighting and towing capabilities are anticipated to arrive. A salvage crew is planned to board the Felicity Ace as the weather permits for a first evaluation, which will determine future salvage and firefighting operations.
February 25, 2022
Salvage Team Begins Towing Felicity Ace
More than a week after the ship was abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean, a salvage team successfully boarded the Felicity Ace vehicle carrier and secured a tow line to keep it from drifting, according to the ship’s manager. The smoke emanating from the ship stopped and was no longer visible.
A salvage team boarded the Felicity Ace via helicopter, and the salvage tug ‘Bear’ began dragging the ship to a safe location off the coast of the Azores. The tow was being escorted by two more tugs, ALP Guard and Dian Kingdom, as well as a big anchor handling tug called V.B. Hispanic with extra firefighting capacity. The cause of the fire was still unknown.
March 1, 2022
Felicity Ace Sinks in the Atlantic Ocean
The Felicity Ace car carrier sank in the Atlantic Ocean on March 1, 2022. The ship’s manager, MOL Ship Management (Singapore) stated that the vessel sank about 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday, roughly 220 nautical miles off the coast of the Azores Islands, according to preliminary information from the on-site recovery team. Salvage vessels stayed in the area to monitor the situation.
According to reports, several automobiles on board were electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries, complicating firefighting attempts. We may never know what started the fire or contributed to its spread because the ship is now at the bottom of the ocean.
“Further information will be provided as it becomes available,” MOL said in its update.
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