The Felicity Ace, a cargo ship designed to transport vehicles, was reportedly evacuated Wednesday as it was in transit near the mid-Atlantic Azores Islands following reports of a fire aboard the ship, according to The Washington Post. All 22 crew members have been rescued, but the Porsches, Volkswagen, and other brand-new cars left on board, which were set to be delivered to North America, might not be so lucky.
The 656-foot long ship departed from its origin port in Emden, Germany on February 10, and was set to arrive at its destination port in Davisville, Rhode Island on February 23. On February 16, the vessel let out a distress signal after a fire broke out in the cargo hold. Shortly after, a Portuguese navy patrol boat, along with four merchant vessels, responded to help with the rescue. There’s an ongoing effort to bring the situation back under control, according to The Drive, though a photo taken from aboard one of the assisting merchant ships and shared by Greek publication Naftika Chronika on Wednesday shows the Felicity Ace seemingly ablaze from a distance.
The Felicity Ace was built in 2005 and has a total load capacity of 17,738 tons. That translates to a maximum load of nearly 4000 vehicles—a non-insignificant amount, especially considering the market’s ongoing supply shortages. When reached for comment by Road & Track, a Volkswagen spokesperson told us the company was aware of the situation and was working with local authorities and the shipping company to investigate the cause of the incident. Porsche gave the following statement to The Drive:
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