LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A big cargo vessel carrying automobiles from Germany to the US sank Tuesday within the mid-Atlantic, 13 days after a hearth broke out on board, the ship’s supervisor and the Portuguese navy stated.

The Felicity Ace sank about 400 kilometers (250 miles) off Portugal’s Azores Islands because it was being towed, MOL Ship Administration in Singapore stated in a press release. A salvage staff had put out the fireplace.

The 200-meter-long (650-foot-long) vessel listed to starboard earlier than going beneath, the ship’s supervisor stated.

The Portuguese navy confirmed the sinking, saying it occurred outdoors Portuguese waters. A Portuguese Air Pressure helicopter evacuated the 22 crew members when the fireplace first broke out, setting the ship adrift.

Ocean-going tugboats with firefighting tools had been hosing down the ship’s hull to chill it.

It wasn’t clear what number of automobiles have been onboard the ship, however vessels of the Felicity Ace’s measurement can carry at the very least 4,000 autos.

European carmakers declined to debate what number of autos and what fashions have been on board, however Porsche clients in the US have been being contacted by their sellers, the corporate stated.

“We’re already working to interchange each automotive affected by this incident and the primary new automobiles shall be constructed quickly,” Angus Fitton, vice chairman of PR at Porsche Vehicles North America, Inc., informed The Related Press in an e-mail.

The ship was transporting electrical and non-electric autos, in accordance with Portuguese authorities. Suspicion on what began the fireplace on Feb. 16 has fallen on lithium batteries utilized in electrical autos, although authorities say they haven’t any agency proof in regards to the trigger.

Authorities feared the ship may pollute the ocean. The ship was carrying 2,000 metric tons (2,200 tons) of gas and a pair of,000 metric tons (2,200 tons) of oil. It may carry greater than 17,000 metric tons (18,700 tons) of cargo.

The Portuguese navy stated in a press release that only some items of wreckage and a small patch of oil was seen the place the ship went down. The tugboats have been breaking apart the patch with hoses, it stated.

A Portuguese Air Pressure aircraft and a Portuguese navy vessel are to stay on the scene looking out for indicators of air pollution.

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