Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has temporarily suspended transporting electric vehicles on its ferries.
The shipping line owned the Felicity Ace cargo ship that caught fire and sunk in the North Atlantic.
There is no evidence of what triggered the fire. However, the harbourmaster responsible for extinguishing the blaze said the lithium-ion batteries in onboard EVs made the job more difficult.
Now, MOL has announced they will temporarily pause the transportation of fully electric vehicles on their vessels.
“There are many cases of fire accidents in used EV vehicles,” MOL said.
“Therefore, from the viewpoint of safety and transportation quality, we will stop accepting used EV cars on our vessels for the time being.”
MOL confirmed hybrid and plug-in hybrids will still be accepted for transportation.
Kiwi car dealer Lindsay Routhan estimates MOL transports between 70 and 80 per cent of used cars to New Zealand. Other shipping lines primarily transport new cars and will take used cars when there is space.
Routhan tells NZ Autocar he wants the government to consider putting the new feebate taxes on hold if EV imports are disrupted.
More news is expected to come out in the next few days.