An deserted ship carrying an estimated $401m (£295m) value of automobiles, together with Porsche, Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini fashions, has sunk almost two weeks after a fireplace broke out onboard.

The Felicity Ace sank on Tuesday about 400 kilometers (250 miles) off Portugal’s Azores Islands because it was being towed, MOL Ship Administration in Singapore mentioned in an announcement. A salvage staff had put out the fireplace which had burned for days, fueled by lithium-ion batteries in electrical automobiles onboard.

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

The Portuguese navy confirmed the sinking, saying it occurred outdoors Portuguese waters. A Portuguese air drive 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 had been onboard the ship, however vessels of the Felicity Ace’s dimension can carry not less than 4,000 automobiles.

European carmakers declined to debate what number of automobiles and what fashions had been onboard, however Porsche clients in america had been being contacted by their sellers, the corporate mentioned.

Insurance coverage specialists at Russell Group mentioned they estimated that $438m of products had been on the ship, together with an estimated $401m of automobiles and items automobiles.

“We’re already working to interchange each automobile affected by this incident and the primary new automobiles will likely be constructed quickly,” Angus Fitton, vice-president of PR at Porsche Automobiles North America, instructed the Related Press in an e-mail.

The ship was transporting electrical and non-electric automobiles, in response to Portuguese authorities. Suspicion on what began the fireplace on 16 February 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 may 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 well carry greater than 17,000 metric tons (18,700 tons) of cargo.

The Portuguese navy mentioned in an announcement that just a few 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 drive aircraft and a Portuguese navy vessel are to stay on the scene looking out for indicators of air pollution.