A massive cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury vehicles has been adrift in the Atlantic Ocean since Wednesday after it caught fire, and the crew abandoned the ship to escape.
The ship “Felicity Ace,” carrying Volkswagen Group vehicles destined for the U.S., was traveling from Emden, Germany, to Davisville, Rhode Island. It was about 90 nautical miles southwest of the Azores Islands, Portugal, when it issued its first distress signal on the morning of Feb. 16.
It had 22 crew members on board, who were evacuated and taken to a hospital in Portugal, the Portuguese navy said in a statement.
It is still too early to know how many vehicles were on board. However, Bloomberg accessed an internal email from Volkswagen AG’s U.S. operations reported 3,965 vehicles on board.
Among them were an estimated 1,100 Porsche vehicles, 189 Bentley vehicles, and approximately 100 Volkswagen Golf R, GTI, Arteon, and ID.4 vehicles, Car and Driver reports.
“Our immediate thoughts are of relief that the 22 crew of the merchant ship Felicity Ace are safe and well,” said Vandezande, a Porche spokesman.
He also reported that customers affected by the incident are being contacted by their dealer. “Anyone concerned by this incident and the implications on the car they’ve ordered should maintain in contact with [the] dealer with which their order was placed,” Vandezande added.
Porsche also suffered the loss of its vehicles due to an incident on its transoceanic journey in 2019. The Grande America ship headed from Germany to South America with 37 Porsches, and about 2,000 new Audis caught fire and sank.
The Felicity Ace is roughly the size of three soccer fields. According to software company Skytek, the estimated market value of the nearly 4,000 vehicles could exceed $500 million, according to Car and Drive.