LISBON — A fireplace which swept by means of a cargo ship carrying hundreds of Volkswagen Group autos and adrift off the coast of Portugal’s Azores islands has misplaced its depth, in all probability as a result of there may be little left to burn, a port official mentioned.
The Felicity Ace, carrying about 4,000 autos together with VWs, Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis — some electrical with lithium ion batteries — caught fireplace in the course of the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.
The 22 crew members on board had been evacuated the identical day.
“The fireplace has subsided in current hours,” João Mendes Cabeças, captain of the closest port within the Azorean island of Faial, advised Lusa information company, saying there was in all probability little flamable materials left to burn.
Cabeças advised Reuters over the weekend lithium ion batteries within the EVs had been “maintaining the fireplace alive,” including that specialist gear was required to extinguish it. It was not clear whether or not the batteries sparked the fireplace.
He additionally mentioned the fireplace was spreading nearer to the ship’s gas tanks.
“Our concern has been with air pollution because the ship has giant quantities of gas on board and automotive batteries however up to now there are not any hotbeds of air pollution,” Cabeças advised Lusa.
As the fireplace’s depth ebbs, firefighting groups and technicians may be capable to board the vessel to arrange towing it to both Europe or the Bahamas, Cabeças mentioned.
Bloomberg, quoting an inner VW electronic mail, reported Friday that 3,965 autos are on board the ship. About 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys had been on board, spokespeople for the automotive manufacturers mentioned. Audi, one other Volkswagen model, confirmed a few of its autos had been additionally on the ship however didn’t state what number of.
VW didn’t reply to a Reuters request for touch upon the subsequent steps to establish the reason for the fireplace.
U.S. economist Patrick Anderson final week first estimated the preliminary loss may very well be $255 million, however by Friday bumped his calculation as much as $282 million.
“Wanting on the whole cargo, assuming that three-fourths of the autos are a complete loss, and averaging the wholesale worth at a decrease quantity (to account for the VWs plus some Bentleys and plenty of Audis), suggests this entails about $376,675,000 price of cargo. In all probability three-fourths of that, or $282,506,250 is a complete loss, if the ship is certainly nonetheless burning as of now (as is reported and for which we now have video proof.)
“Once more, we do not need a superb evaluation of the diploma of harm to the cargo from any inspection, however fireplace, water, smoke, and submersion harm are all overlapping likelihoods for these autos.
“These quantities don’t embody the downstream loss at sellers. It additionally doesn’t embody any salvage, environmental, or different prices, nor the ship itself, nor any misplaced wages of the crew or prices to the Portuguese that rescued them.”
It’s not the primary time the producer has misplaced merchandise at sea. When the Grande America caught fireplace and sank in 2019, greater than 2,000 luxurious automobiles, together with Audis and Porsches, sank with it.
A spokesperson for Lamborghini’s U.S. operation declined to touch upon the variety of automobiles the corporate had on board or which fashions had been affected, however mentioned that they’re in touch with the delivery firm to get extra details about the incident.
Felicity Ace is roughly the scale of three soccer fields.
Reuters, Bloomberg and Philip Nussel from Automotive Information contributed to this report.