After a fire broke out in one of the cargo decks in a cargo ship full of porsches, bentleys and VWs, it is now adrift in the Atlantic.
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According to the Washington Post, the Portuguese Navy acknowledged this morning that one of its patrol boats assisted the Felicity Ace, a vehicle carrier travelling the Atlantic Ocean that is presently on fire and adrift off the coast of the Azores. After a fire broke out in one of the cargo decks, the ship sent out a distress call, and the ship was soon declared “not under command.” The 22 crew members on board were reportedly successfully evacuated off the ship.
The Felicity Ace left Emden, Germany, on February 10 with vehicles from a number of Volkswagen Auto Group brands, including Porsche and Volkswagen, according to The Drive. The ship was supposed to arrive in Davisville, Rhode Island, on February 23rd morning.
Update as of 1:30 p.m. ET on February 17, 2021: With the fire still blazing and rescue efforts in the works, we can now confirm that the ship is also carrying 189 Bentleys and an unidentified number of Audis, bringing the total number of vehicles on board to close to 4,000, according to VW Group. The Felicity Ace is a regular charter vessel for VW Group, and on its most recent voyage from Europe to America in January, it carried at least 21 Lamborghinis. We’ve reached out to Lamborghini to see if any of its vehicles are on board today. The rest of our original report can be found further down.
The Panama-flagged ship was swiftly discovered by a Portuguese Navy patrol boat as well as four merchant ships in the region after transmitting the distress signal on Wednesday morning. According to Naftika Chronika, the Felicity Ace’s crew boarded a lifeboat and was picked up by the Resilient Warrior, a tanker managed by Polembros Shipping Limited of Greece. A Portuguese Navy helicopter is said to have taken up 11 of the crew members from the Resilient Warrior so far. According to reports from the ground, attempts to bring the situation under control are still underway.
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The Felicity Ace, which is 656 feet long by 104 feet wide and has a carrying capacity of 17,738 tons, was completed in 2005. The ship could carry over 4,000 vehicles when fully loaded. The source of the fire is yet unknown, other than the fact that it started in the ship’s cargo hold. In photographs shot from the Resilient Warrior and uploaded by Naftika Chronika, the ship can be seen smoldering in the distance.
Vehicles from Porsche and Volkswagen, among many others, were on aboard the carrier at the time of the incident, which was its route to North America. Porsche’s Track Your Dream service has delivered a letter to members of 718Forum.com stating that the business is “aware of an incident on the Felicity Ace,” which was “carrying certain Porsche vehicles.” Customers will be given additional information if it is available, according to the statement.
Members of the VWIDTalk and Rennlist Porsche forums have also suggested that the fire on the Felicity Ace may have affected their vehicles. The ship has routinely transported cars for Volkswagen and its other brands, notably Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche, according to past import manifests filed in the United States.
Matt Farah, the man behind the YouTube channel The Smoking Tire, made a post today about his own Porsche, which was reportedly onboard the ship.”I ordered a Boxster Spyder in August, and I was very excited to get it at the end of this month, and now it seems like it might become an artificial reef,” said Farah, adding that “I’m only saying this because I know no one was hurt, which is obviously more important.” The car that’s mentioned here was a Porsche Boxster Spyder, which Farah planned to outfit with a DeMan 4.5L flat-six engine and other improvements after delivery.
The Boxster Spyder with Deman 4.5 motor and shorty gears is the best sports car of all time, hands down. I had it specced exactly as I wanted it. There is no moving on. https://t.co/egaYJV5VEC— Matt "I Park Cars" Farah (@TheSmokingTire) February 16, 2022
Porsche noted in a statement supplied to The Drive that “Our immediate thoughts are of the 22 crew of the merchant ship ‘Felicity Ace,’ all of whom we understand are safe and well as a result of their rescue by the Portuguese Navy following reports of a fire on board.”
Customers who are worried should contact their dealers, according to the business saying that, “We believe a number of our cars are among the cargo on board the ship. No further details of the specific cars affected are available at this time – we are in close contact with the shipping company and will share more information in due course.”
If their limited-edition Porsches were damaged or destroyed in the incident, certain Porsche customers may be particularly concerned. After a number of limited-edition cars, like the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, were lost after a cargo ship drowned in 2019, the manufacturer attempted to remanufacture them.
Volkswagen, on the other hand, indicated that “We are aware of an incident today involving a cargo ship transporting Volkswagen Group vehicles across the Atlantic,” the statement continued, “At this time, we are not aware of any injuries. We are working with local authorities and the shipping company to investigate the cause of the incident.”
This event would be an additional setback for the automobile industry, which is already dealing with supply chain challenges. As we all learned last year when the Ever Given closed the Suez Canal, when a ship’s name is all over the news, it’s rarely for a good cause.
However, the positive aspect of this story is that no one was injured, and the crew was evacuated safely. Some cars may have been lost, causing considerable anguish and frustration, but any cars that have been damaged should be replaced soon.