The Felicity Ace Disaster at Sea

Felicity Ace is a ship that transports cars, or at least it did. But on Wednesday, Feb 17, the lithium-ion batteries in the electric vehicles on board caught fire and the ship had to be abandoned and left to burn. The ship was carrying nearly 4,000 cars- high end vehicles like Bentley, VW, Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche. It is unclear whether the batteries caught fire first, or something else, but special equipment is required to extinguish that type of fire.

There were 22 crew members that had to be rescued by the Portuguese Navy from the Felicity Ace.

Captain Joao Mendes Cabeças of the port of Hortas told Reuters that special equipment is needed to extinguish the blaze as lithium-ion car batteries in electric cars on board have caught fire.  It is unclear whether the batteries caused the fire or if they were lit ablaze after something else caught fire, Cabeças said…

“The ship is burning from one end to the other… everything is on fire about five meters above the water line,” said Cabeças.


The Felicity Ace was reportedly on its way to Davisville, Rhode Island, and due to come into port on Feb 23 when it caught fire. After the crew had to abandon it, Maritime law states that the cargo is now “finders’ keepers.” There will be a salvage operation, but it is unclear who will attempt to do it.

The vessel transmitted a distress signal after the fire broke out in one of the cargo decks, with the ship announced as “not under command” shortly afterwards. Thankfully, the 22 crew on board have been reported as successfully evacuated from the ship.

The Felicity Ace had departed from the port in Emden, Germany on February 10, and The Drive has confirmed it was carrying vehicles from a number Volkswagen Auto Group brands, including Porsche and VW. The ship was originally expected to arrive at Davisville, Rhode Island on the morning of February 23.

With the fire still burning and salvage plans being hatched, The Drive can now also confirm that the ship is also carrying 189 Bentleys and an unspecified number of Audis, with VW Group estimating the total number of vehicles on board to be close to 4,000. The Felicity Ace is regularly used as a charter vessel for VW Group, and also carried at least 21 Lamborghinis on its most recent voyage from Europe to America in January.

The Drive

If you were waiting for your “dream Porsche,” it’s going to be a little late.


H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children


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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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