The catastrophic fire on a cargo ship drifting in the Atlantic Ocean carrying thousands of luxury cars may have been intensified by lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. According to sources, it hindered firefighting on a cargo ship carrying 4,000 automobiles, including Porsches, Audis, and Bentleys.
Last Wednesday, the 650-foot-long Felicity Ace caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean while traveling from Germany to the United States.
That day, all 22 crew members on board were evacuated and rescued. The ship, however, is still smoking off the shore of Portugal’s Azores islands.
Over the weekend, Joo Mendes Cabeças, captain of the nearest port on the Azorean island of Faial, told Reuters that the lithium-ion batteries in the ship’s electric cars were “keeping the fire alive.”
Cabeças added that specialized equipment was required to put out the fire.
“The cars are electric, and part of the fire is the batteries that are still burning,” a spokesman for Royal Boskalis Westminster NV told The Wall Street Journal in a report published Sunday.
Meanwhile, Cabeças told a news agency on Monday that the fire has likely cooled down because there isn’t much left to burn.
“The fire has subsided in recent hours,” Cabeças said.