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Firefighters Struggle To Extinguish Blaze On Cargo Ship Carrying 4,000 Luxury Cars

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Seafaring firefighters are struggling to put out a fire aboard the Felicity Ace, a massive cargo ship that has caught fire off the coast of Portugal’s Azores islands with thousands of luxury cars – including Porsches, Audis and Volkswagens – on board.

We chronicled the incident a few days ago, noting that the shipment of cars had been bound for the US market, where a shortage of supply and surging demand has led to a serious crunch in new car supply. The shortage has left many American teens struggling to find a suitable used car to buy as their first automobile.

Maritime law dictates that any party who helps to save the cargo on the ship will be entitled to some remuneration so…in essence, it’s “finders, keepers” for the thousands of cars that may or may not be damaged from the fire and smoke.

According to Reuters, the Felicity Ace, which according to the latest reports is carrying around 4,000 vehicles (bizarrely, that’s more than the roughly 2,500 it was reported to be carrying earlier in the week) has been complicated by the fact that the lithium-ion batteries aboard some electric vehicles on the ship have caught fire, exacerbating the blaze. The 22 crew members on board were evacuated on the same day the ship caught fire.

“The intervention (to put out the blaze) has to be done very slowly,” João Mendes Cabeças, captain of the nearest port in the Azorean island of Faial, told Reuters late on Saturday. “It will take a while.”

Lithium-ion batteries in the electric vehicles on board are “keeping the fire alive”, Cabeças said, adding that specialist equipment to extinguish it was on the way.

Cabeças previously said that “everything was on fire about five meters above the water line” and the blaze was still far from the ship’s fuel tanks. However, it appears to be getting closer, he said.

“The fire spread further down,” he said, explaining that teams could only tackle the fire from outside by cooling down the ship’s structure as it was too dangerous to go on board.

Due to the nature of the blaze, firefights can’t use water because adding weight to the ship could make it more unstable, and traditional water-based fire extinguishers do not stop lithium-ion batteries from burning, Cabeças said.

Once the fire is out, the ship (or whatever is left of it) and its cargo are expected to be towed to a location in Europe, or the Bahamas.


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