It's been just over a week since the massive cargo ship Felicity Ace caught fire while fully loaded with new cars. Thankfully, the crew was evacuated safely but the ship belched black smoke for several days. Now, the smoke has stopped and salvage crews are on board, and preliminary reports suggest it doesn't look good for the Volkswagen Group.
A report from Automotive News claims the ship's cargo consists of 3,965 vehicles, all belonging to various brands under the VW umbrella. The report also includes a statement from Volkswagen in which the company fears a majority of the vehicles are damaged beyond repair. Further details aren't available, nor is it clear if any portion of the cargo area has been investigated. A Volkswagen spokesperson confirmed the accuracy of the statement to Motor1.com.
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Previous reports on the burning ship identified numerous high-end vehicles on board, including some of the last Lamborghini Aventadors with naturally aspirated, non-hybrid V12 powertrains. Speaking of which, numerous electric vehicles are among the cargo, and that made the fire difficult to battle according to the Automotive News article. At this point, there's still no word on how the fire started or if it's fully extinguished. Photos show significant damage to the exterior of the ship, but the February 25 update from the Felicity Ace Incident Information Center states the ship is stable with no oil leaks detected.
Gallery: Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae
When the fire broke out, the Felicity Ace was located approximately 90 nautical miles southwest of the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. A large salvage vessel is currently towing the ship to a "safe area" near the Azores. The ship is being escorted by two tug boats and another large salvage ship capable of firefighting assistance if necessary.
The ship was bound for the United States. Volkswagen Group dealerships have been notifying buyers with a pending vehicle order of possible problems, though it's unclear how long it will take before all the details are sorted, and the true extent of the damage is known.