By Monica Raymunt | Bloomberg

Volkswagen AG has misplaced hope that lots of its roughly 4,000 autos aboard a cargo ship that caught hearth final week within the Atlantic may be saved.

The automaker’s manufacturers and sellers have began notifying prospects that the U.S.-bound autos will doubtless not be delivered, a spokesperson mentioned Friday. “Particular person options” are being labored out with prospects, Volkswagen mentioned.

“We concern that the fireplace on the ship has broken a big quantity” of the autos “to such an extent that they will now not be delivered to prospects,” in keeping with the assertion. Harm to the autos is roofed by insurance coverage, the corporate mentioned.

Automobiles aboard the Felicity Ace, a cargo ship operated by Mitsui OSK Traces Ltd., have been on their strategy to a port in Rhode Island from Germany’s Port of Emden when a hearth broke out on Feb. 16 off the coast of Portugal’s Azores Islands. The blaze is believed to have lasted greater than every week after the Panama-flagged ship’s crew members have been evacuated and it was left adrift.

Danger-modeling firm Russell Group estimated Monday there may be $401 million value of automobiles on board, and roughly $155 million of that belongs to the German producer. Anderson Financial Group, a Michigan-based marketing consultant, mentioned a $334.6 million cargo loss was attainable.

The reason for the fireplace stays unclear.

VW’s Golf compact automobiles and ID.4 electrical crossovers have been among the many autos aboard the ship, in keeping with an inside electronic mail final week from the automaker’s U.S. operation. Headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, the group manufactures automobiles beneath manufacturers together with VW, Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini — all of which have been on the ship.

A salvage staff efficiently boarded the vessel on Friday through helicopter and accompanied the ship because it was towed by a big salvage ship to an space off the Azores, Mitsui OSK mentioned on a web site created to offer updates on the incident. Two tugs and a big salvage craft with further firefighting functionality escorted the vessel.

The ship appeared steady, with smoke now not seen and no oil leaks noticed, the corporate added.