Porsches End Up on Ocean Floor as Cargo Ship Sinks

Felicity Ace was being towed toward Portugal’s Azores Islands
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2022 7:31 AM CST
Updated Mar 5, 2022 4:20 PM CST

Update: Things have gone from bad to worse for the consumer who tweeted, "My car is now adrift, possibly on fire, in the middle of the ocean." That car isn't adrift anymore. The AP reports the large cargo vessel that ran into trouble in February while transporting Porsches and other cars from Germany to the US sank on Tuesday. The Felicity Ace listed to starboard then went down about 250 miles off Portugal’s Azores Islands while being towed. The ship had been adrift for 13 days after a fire broke out and the 22 crew members were evacuated by air. While it's unclear how many cars were on board, the AP notes the Felicity Ace was likely capable of holding at least 4,000 vehicles. There is still no definitive word on the fire's cause. Our original story from Feb. 17 follows:

Nearly two dozen crew members of a cargo ship transporting cars were rescued from their position in the Atlantic on Wednesday after a fire broke out on board. Per the Portuguese navy, the Felicity Ace, a 650-foot-long ship built in 2005, put out an SOS after the blaze started in the hold, the AP reports. No one was hurt during the helicopter evacuation, which brought the shipmates to a hotel on nearby Faial Island. The Drive reports that the Felicity Ace was believed to be carrying vehicles from the Volkswagen Group, including Porsches, from Germany to Rhode Island, with an arrival date of next Wednesday in Davisville.

A Portuguese naval patrol boat and four merchant vessels headed out to assist with the rescue and to assess the fire's status and whether the ship was likely to sink or leak any pollutants. A photo of the on-fire ship in the distance has been circulating online. The news soon reached some of the owners of the cars, anxiously awaiting their arrival in the US. "I just got the call from my dealer. My car is now adrift, possibly on fire, in the middle of the ocean," one man lamented on Twitter. He added, per the Drive, that he'd been "very excited to get it at the end of this month, and now it seems like it might become an artificial reef."

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In a statement, Porsche said, "Our immediate thoughts are of the 22 crew ... all of whom we understand are safe and well as a result of their rescue." The company added it didn't have more details on the cars now left adrift in the Atlantic on the burning cargo ship, noting that customers who believed their cars to be on board the vessel should contact their dealers. In a separate statement, Volkswagen said it would work with the shipping company and local officials to determine the cause. Per Motor1.com, the now-abandoned ship is said to be drifting eastward, with a still-operational onboard ID system that should help salvage agencies keep tabs on the vessel. (More cargo ships stories.)

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