Firefighters are struggling to extinguish the Felicity Ace cargo ship carrying a number of luxurious supercars.
Lithium-ion batteries from several electric vehicles onboard the vessel are keeping the fire alive. It’s still not clear what actually ignited the fire, but the ship has been burning non-stop now since Wednesday.
João Mendes Cabeças, captain of the nearest port on the Azorean island of Faial, said it will continue to take a while before the fire is fully extinguished.
Fortunately, the fire has not reached the ship’s fuel tanks. However, Cabeças warned it is still spreading.
“Everything was on fire about five meters above the water line,” he said. “It appears to be getting closer [to the tanks].”
Those fighting the blaze can still only do what they can from the outside as it is still too dangerous to go onboard the ship.
Adding to the complication, fire crews can’t depend on water cannons as it could make the ship unstable. It is already listing to one side.
Secondly, the lithium-ion batteries in the EVs demand unique techniques to extinguish, and they can quickly reignite.
All 22 crew members were evacuated the day the fire broke out.
The ship is too large (it’s 200 metres long) to be taken to the nearest port. Instead, it will be towed back to Europe (if it can) once the fire is put out.
There’s no official word on how many cars are on board. The Washington Post says 1100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys are on the ship, which was heading for Rhode Island.