| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Salvage team boards burnt ship with luxury cars off Azores, towing begins

More than a week after a luxury car-laden ship caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a salvage team boarded the ship on Friday and began to pull it to a safe area off the Portuguese Azores archipelago.

Ship manager Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd (MOL) stated in a statement that the Felicity Ace remained stable and that the smoke that had been billowing for days from the vessel, which was adrift some 170 kilometers southwest of the Azores, had ceased.

The 22 crew members of the Panama-flagged Felicity Ace, which was transporting roughly 4,000 automobiles from Germany to the United States, were evacuated last Wednesday, the day the fire broke out.

Some of the vehicles are electric and their lithium-ion batteries have made the fire very difficult to extinguish, port officials have said.

Previous attempts to board the ship to assess its condition and start preparing it for towing had failed due to the fire and rough seas.

On Friday, the team was able to board by helicopter and the salvage boat Bear started towing the vessel to a “safe area off Azores”, the ship manager said. It was not clear where exactly the vessel was being towed to.

It was being escorted by two tug boats and another salvage craft equipped with firefighting gear, MOL said.

Insurance experts said the incident could result in losses of $155 million.

  • Reuters