Cargo ship carrying Porsche, Audi, Bentley still burning, firefighters struggle
The vessel carrying around 4,000 luxury cars is still burning near the coast of Portugal's Azores islands, as firefighters are struggling to dose the fire, reports news agency Reuters. The ship named Felicity Ace caught fire on Wednesday. The ship is carrying luxury cars from carmakers such as Porsche, Audi and Bentley. It also carries some electrics with lithium-ion batteries.
The ship was caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic on Wednesday. The 22 crew members on board the ship were evacuated on the same day.
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João Mendes Cabeças, captain of the nearest port in the Azorean island of Faial, has said that the process to douse the fire on the ship has to be executed very slowly. He also said on Saturday that the process will take a while.
Cabeças further mentioned that the lithium-ion batteries on board the electric vehicles loaded on the deck of the ship are keeping the fire alive. He also mentioned that specialist equipment to extinguish the fire is on the way. He previously said that everything was on fire about five meters above the water line and the blaze was still far from the ship's fuel tanks, but it is getting closer. “The fire spread further down," he mentioned.
The captain said that the firefighters could only tackle the fire from outside by cooling down the ship's structure as it was too dangerous to go onboard the ship. The firefighters couldn't use water because adding weight to the ship could make it more unstable and traditional water extinguishers are not capable of stopping lithium-ion batteries from burning.
However, it is not clear whether the batteries sparked the fire or not. The ship was carrying vehicles from Volkswagen Group and the German automobile group has said that it is awaiting further information about the incident.