The ship, which was headed for the US, sounded the alarm after a fire broke out in the hold – leading to the evacuation of the 22 crew members aboard, some of whom had to be rescued by helicopter
Image: Marinha Portuguesa)
A cargo ship carrying up to 4,000 Porches and Volkswagens caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The alarm was sounded aboard The Felicity Ace after a fire broke out in the hold, leading to the evacuation of its 22-strong crew.
A statement from the Portuguese Navy confirmed crew members were rescued in lifeboats as the ship blazed near the mid-Atlantic Azores Islands.
It added that the cause of the fire is currently unknown.
Online vessel trackers say the 650-feet-long vessel had set sail on February 10 from Emden, Germany, and was bound for the port of Davisville in the US state of Rhode Island.
The ship, which regularly ferries cars for Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Audi and Porsche across the seas, was expected to arrive in the US on February 23.
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In a statement, Portugal’s navy said one patrol boat and four merchant vessels helped with the rescue, alongside the Portuguese Air Force aircraft.
So far, 11 crew members have been rescued from a Greek tanker, Resilient Warrior, by a Portuguese Navy helicopter.
Porche buyers are able to track their purchases through eh Track Your Dream service, which runs live updates on cars’ deliveries.
The website said it was “aware of an incident on the Felicity Ace carrying certain Porsche vehicles”.
Matt Farah, whose YouTube channel The Smoking Tire has over 1 million subscribers, said his own board was apparently onboard The Felicity Ace.
Sal Mercogliano / YouTube)
“I ordered a Boxster Spyder in August, and I was very excited to get it at the end of this month, and now it seems like it might become an artificial reef,’ he said.
“I’m only saying this because I know no one was hurt, which is obviously more important.”
A spokesperson for Porche said: “Our immediate thoughts are of the 22 crew of the merchant ship Felicity Ace, all of whom we understand are safe and well as a result of their rescue by the Portuguese Navy following reports of a fire on board.
“We believe a number of our cars are among the cargo onboard the ship. No further details of the specific cars affected are available at this time – we are in close contact with the shipping company and will share more information in due course.”
A spokesperson for Volkswagen added: “We are aware of an incident today involving a cargo ship transporting Volkswagen Group vehicles across the Atlantic. At this time, we are not aware of any injuries.
“We are working with local authorities and the shipping company to investigate the cause of the incident.”