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

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

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

The Portuguese navy confirmed the sinking, saying it occurred exterior 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 gear had been hosing down the ship’s hull to chill it.

It wasn’t clear what number of vehicles had been onboard the ship, however vessels of the Felicity Ace’s dimension can carry a minimum of 4,000 automobiles.

European carmakers declined to debate what number of automobiles and what fashions had been on board, however Porsche prospects in the US had been being contacted by their sellers, the corporate mentioned.

“We’re already working to exchange each automobile affected by this incident and the primary new vehicles might be constructed quickly,” Angus Fitton, vice chairman of PR at Porsche Automobiles North America, Inc., advised The Related Press in an electronic mail.

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

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

The Portuguese navy mentioned 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 had been breaking apart the patch with hoses, it mentioned.

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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