This is absurd, yet it occurred when a cargo ship carrying at least 4,000 supercars, including Porsches, Audis, and Lamborghinis, sank 13 days after a fire broke out on board.
Authorities in Portugal says there was clear evidence the fire was ignited by lithium batteries used in electric vehicles.
According to Portuguese police, the ship was delivering both electric and non-electric automobiles.
Felicity Ace a 650-foot-long cargo ship, went down around 250 miles off the coast of Portugal’s Azores Islands yesterday while being towed. A fire broke out onboard on Wednesday, February 16.
The actual number of vehicles on board the ship has not been established, although warships of the Felicity Ace’s size can hold at least 4,000.
According to a business spokeswoman, around 1,100 Porsches were on board.
According to the German daily Handelsblatt, an internal correspondence from Volkswagen USA revealed that the ship was transporting 3,965 automobiles.
Audi acknowledged that some of their vehicles were on board, but did not specify how many. Volkswagen stated that it was awaiting further information.
To cool the ship’s hull, ocean-going tugboats equipped with firefighting equipment were hosing it down, and the salvage crew was able to extinguish the fire before it sank.
The hull of the ship was extensively damaged by the fire, with the metal shell of the vessel clearly exposed and paint gone, according to photos of the ship.
After the fire broke out, smoke was seen pouring from the ship.
The sinking was verified by the Portuguese navy, who added that it occurred outside of the country’s territorial seas.
The Portuguese air force had to transport twenty-two crew members to safety.
The ship is thought to have been listed to starboard (when a vessel takes on water and tilts to one side) before sinking, according to the ship’s manager.
Authorities were concerned that the ship, carrying 2,200 tonnes of gasoline and 2,200 tonnes of oil, might pollute the water.