Towing boats head towards burning cargo ship carrying 4,000 VWs, Porsches, Bentleys, others


BERLIN/LISBON — A ship carrying round 4,000 automobiles — together with Volkswagens, Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis — that caught fire near the coast of the Azores shall be towed to a different European nation or the Bahamas, the captain of the closest port instructed Reuters on Friday.

Lithium-ion batteries within the EVs on board have caught hearth and the blaze requires specialist tools to extinguish, captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas stated.

It was not clear whether or not the batteries first sparked the hearth.

“The ship is burning from one finish to the opposite… every part is on hearth about 5 meters above the water line,” Cabeças stated.

Towing boats had been on route from Gibraltar and the Netherlands, with three resulting from arrive by Wednesday, Cabecas stated. He added the vessel couldn’t be towed to the Azores as a result of it was so large it might block commerce on the port.

U.S. economist Patrick Anderson estimated the preliminary loss could possibly be $255 million.

“A fast estimate, assuming that the ship was solely partially full (or {that a} portion of the cargo is salvaged undamaged), is that there’s at the least $255 million or extra in misplaced automobiles, plus many hundreds of thousands in salvage prices on high of that, and downstream losses in auto dealerships. It could possibly be extra,” Anderson stated in an emailed assertion on Friday.

A 16-person salvage group from Smit Salvage, owned by Dutch marine engineer Boskalis, was despatched to the ship to assist management the flames, Boskalis stated.

The Panama-flagged ship, owned by Snowscape Automotive Carriers SA and managed by Mitsui O.S.Ok. Traces Ltd., was travelling from Emden, Germany — the place Volkswagen has a manufacturing unit — to Davisville, R.I., primarily based on the Maritime Visitors web site. Davisville is a port about 70 miles south of Boston.

The 22 crew members on board had been evacuated on Wednesday, when the hearth broke out, with nobody harm, Portugal’s navy stated in a press release.

Round 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys had been on board, spokespeople for the automotive manufacturers stated. Audi, one other Volkswagen model, confirmed a few of its automobiles had been additionally on the ship however didn’t state what number of.

An inner electronic mail from Volkswagen’s U.S. operations revealed there have been 3,965 Volkswagen Group automobiles aboard the ship.

Greater than 100 of these vehicles had been headed for the Port of Houston in Texas, with GTI, Golf R, and ID.4 fashions deemed to be in danger, in line with the e-mail. The auto business is already scuffling with provide points, together with pandemic-related staffing woes and the worldwide chip scarcity.

YouTuber Matt Farah, whose automotive evaluate channel “The Smoking Tire” has greater than one million followers, stated on Twitter he was contacted by a automotive supplier who stated the Porsche he ordered was aboard the ship.

“My automotive is now adrift, presumably on hearth, in the midst of the ocean,” Farah tweeted.

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