February 24, 2022: EV batteries have been suspected in a car transport vessel still ablaze in the Atlantic after more than a week.
Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted a port official on the Azorean island of Faial, João Mendes Cabeças, as saying lithium ion batteries in EVs on board the ‘Felicity Ace’ were believed to be “keeping the fire alive” — but said it was not yet clear whether the batteries sparked the blaze.
A spokesperson for the vessel’s owner told Batteries International on February 24 it was “too soon” to comment on reports that EV batteries may be involved.
A spokesperson for Volkswagen confirmed to Batteries International that some of its vehicles were on board the vessel, but declined to give details, other than to say all crew members had been safely rescued by the Portuguese navy.
The ‘Felicity Ace’ is owned by Car Carriers, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MOL Shipmanagement Singapore.
The fire broke out on the Panama-flagged car carrier ‘on February 16, as the vessel was some 90 nautical miles southwest of the Azores, travelling from Germany to the US.
MOL said on February 24 that the vessel was “still assumed to remain on fire drifting south of the Azores”.
“Currently there is no oil leakage confirmed from the vessel… and the vessel remains stable.”
The statement said white smoke still visible from the vessel had dissipated in recent days. Meanwhile, “two large tugs continue to spray the vessel with water cannons to achieve hull and boundary cooling.”
Two salvage crafts with additional firefighting and towing capability were expected to arrive at the scene on February 24.
“When conditions are safe the salvage team will board the ‘Felicity Ace’ for an initial assessment of future salvage and firefighting plans,” MOL said.
Photo: The ‘Felicity Ace’. Image: Portuguese navy