The Felicity Ace, a cargo vessel carrying an unknown number of luxury cars, has sunk in the Atlantic Ocean after a fire broke out onboard. The Panama-flagged ship was being towed after a salvage team had extinguished the fire, but it sank around 400 kilometres off the Azores, according to the ship's manager and the Portuguese navy.
The 200-meter-long vessel had been en route from Germany to the United States before the blaze occurred last month. All 22 crew members were evacuated by Portugal's Air Force before the ship was left to drift for several days in the mid-Atlantic. Ocean-going tugboats equipped with firefighting equipment had been deployed to cool the hull of the ship.
Although it is unclear how many luxury cars were onboard, the Felicity Ace was capable of carrying at least 4,000 vehicles. The ship was transporting both electric and non-electric vehicles, according to Portuguese authorities.
Authorities suspect that the blaze may have been caused by the lithium batteries used in electric vehicles, but an investigation into the exact cause of the fire is still underway.
The sinking of the Felicity Ace outside Portuguese waters has raised concerns about potential pollution, as the ship was carrying 2,000 metric tons of fuel and oil. The Portuguese navy confirmed the sinking of the vessel and is monitoring the area for any signs of pollution.