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Burnt-out cargo ship carrying luxury cars sinks in mid-Atlantic two weeks after blaze
2 March 2022, 16:49
A fire-wrecked cargo ship which was carrying luxury cars to the US has sunk after weeks of floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
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The Felicity Ace ship caught fire off the coast of Portugal on February 16 after a blaze broke out in the cargo hold.
The vessel was holding an estimated $401m (£295m) worth of cars, with Porsches, Audis, Lamborghinis and Bentleys onboard.
The fire spread throughout the ship and it began to drift not far from the Azores.
A helicopter from the Portuguese Navy was brought in to safely get the 22 crew members off the ship, which weighs 60,000 tonnes.
She was floating in the middle of the ocean for the last two weeks as crews from the Portuguese navy desperately tried to salvage the abandoned ship.
Latest reports indicate the Felicity Ace -- a car carrying ship headed to Quonset's Port of Davisville in RI when it caught fire last week-- is STILL burning in the Atlantic Ocean.— Kayla Fish (@KaylaFishTV) February 21, 2022
This morning on @wpri12 - more on efforts to douse the flames & how it impacts the auto industry pic.twitter.com/L0mhoKiPY5
The 656 foot-long vessel submerged near Azores Islands at around 9am local time on Tuesday, the Portuguese navy said.
“This morning, during the towing process, which had begun on Feb 24, the ship ‘Felicity Ace’ lost stability and sank some 25 nautical miles outside of the limits of Portugal’s exclusive economic zone, in an area with a depth of about [9,842 feet],” the Navy said in Portuguese.
The blaze, which had been burning for days, was eventually extinguished on 25 February and a salvage team attempted to tow the boat back to land.
However, the ship lost some stability and sank with a depth of around 9,842 feet.
The ship was heading to Rhode Island from Germany, carrying about 2,200 tons of fuel and 2,200 tons of oil along with other materials such as metallic parts, plastics, electrical wires and paint.
Cameron Batten, chief communications officer for Volkswagen Group of America, said nearly 4,000 Volkswagen Group cars were onboard the ill-fated vessel, and it included 1,100 Porsches and 200 Bentleys.
European carmakers have declined to discuss exactly how many vehicles and what models were onboard.