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Hearth dies down on ship carrying luxurious automobiles with little left to burn

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LISBON — A hearth which swept via a cargo ship carrying 1000’s of Volkswagen Group automobiles and adrift off the coast of Portugal’s Azores islands has misplaced its depth, in all probability as a result of there may be little left to burn, a port official stated.

The Felicity Ace, carrying about 4,000 automobiles together with VWs, Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis — some electrical with lithium ion batteries — caught hearth in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.

The 22 crew members on board have been evacuated the identical day.

“The fireplace has subsided in current hours,” João Mendes Cabeças, captain of the closest port within the Azorean island of Faial, informed Lusa information company, saying there was in all probability little flamable materials left to burn.

Cabeças informed Reuters over the weekend lithium ion batteries within the EVs have been “holding the fireplace alive,” including that specialist tools was required to extinguish it. It was not clear whether or not the batteries sparked the fireplace.

He additionally stated the fireplace was spreading nearer to the ship’s gas tanks.

“Our concern has been with air pollution because the ship has massive quantities of gas on board and automobile batteries however to this point there are not any hotbeds of air pollution,” Cabeças informed Lusa.

As the fireplace’s depth ebbs, firefighting groups and technicians may have the ability to board the vessel to arrange towing it to both Europe or the Bahamas, Cabeças stated.

Bloomberg, quoting an inner VW e mail, reported Friday that 3,965 automobiles are on board the ship. About 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys have been on board, spokespeople for the automobile manufacturers stated. Audi, one other Volkswagen model, confirmed a few of its automobiles have been additionally on the ship however didn’t state what number of.

VW didn’t reply to a Reuters request for touch upon the subsequent steps to determine the reason for the fireplace.

U.S. economist Patrick Anderson final week first estimated the preliminary loss may very well be $255 million, however by Friday bumped his calculation as much as $282 million.

“Wanting on the total cargo, assuming that three-fourths of the automobiles are a complete loss, and averaging the wholesale worth at a decrease quantity (to account for the VWs plus some Bentleys and a whole lot of Audis), suggests this includes about $376,675,000 price of cargo. Most likely three-fourths of that, or $282,506,250 is a complete loss, if the ship is certainly nonetheless burning as of now (as is reported and for which we have now video proof.)

“Once more, we should not have a superb evaluation of the diploma of injury to the cargo from any inspection, however hearth, water, smoke, and submersion injury are all overlapping likelihoods for these automobiles.

“These quantities don’t embody the downstream loss at sellers. It additionally doesn’t embody any salvage, environmental, or different prices, nor the ship itself, nor any misplaced wages of the crew or prices to the Portuguese that rescued them.”

It’s not the primary time the producer has misplaced merchandise at sea. When the Grande America caught hearth and sank in 2019, greater than 2,000 luxurious automobiles, together with Audis and Porsches, sank with it.

A spokesperson for Lamborghini’s U.S. operation declined to touch upon the variety of automobiles the corporate had on board or which fashions have been affected, however stated that they’re involved with the transport firm to get extra details about the incident.

Felicity Ace is roughly the scale of three soccer fields.

Reuters, Bloomberg and Philip Nussel from Automotive Information contributed to this report.

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