Freighter carrying Porsches and Lamborghinis sinks in rough seas

The freighter that caught fire in the Atlantic while carrying around 4,000 Volkswagen vehicles to the United States sank despite efforts to tow it to safety.

The Felicity Ace sank 220 nautical miles off the Portuguese coast of the Azores around 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday after being battered by waves and heeling 45 degrees to its starboard side, the ship’s operator said .

« The weather was pretty rough there, » Pat Adamson, spokesman for MOL Ship Management (Singapore), a unit of Mitsui OSK Lines, said by phone. “And then she sank, which was a surprise. »

Volkswagen had VW, Porsche, Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini models on the ship, which was en route to Rhode Island from the German port of Emden when the fire broke out on February 16. The fire reportedly lasted more than a week. after the crew of the Panamanian-flagged vessel was evacuated and left adrift.

Tugs and lifeboats accompanying the vehicle are in the area monitoring the situation, Adamson said.

“There does not appear to be any oil pollution yet – they are checking that,” the spokesperson said.

Volkswagen declined to comment on Tuesday. The German automaker had feared that many of its cars on the ship would not be salvageable, with brands and dealers advising customers that vehicles bound for the United States were unlikely to be delivered. Car damage is covered by insurance, the automaker said last week.

In a projection assuming all vehicles would be lost, risk modeling firm Russell Group last week estimated the incident could cost the automaker at least $155 million. About $438 million in cargo was on board the ship, including $401 million worth of cars.

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