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3,965 Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini cars on burning cargo ship

The Burning Massive Cargo Ship in the Atlantic Ocean Photo: Oceanic Insight

*The Felicity Ace, a massive cargo ship carrying thousands of Volkswagen Group vehicles, including Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini, caught fire near the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

An internal e-mail from Volkswagen AG’s United States (US) operations revealed there were 3,965 Volkswagen (VW), Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini cars aboard the burning cargo ship.

The Felicity Ace, a massive cargo ship carrying thousands of Volkswagen Group vehicles, caught fire near the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday afternoon, agency report said.

The Panama-flagged ship’s 22 crew members were evacuated and taken to a local hotel by the Portuguese Navy and Air Force, who were deployed to help with the rescue effort, noted a statement from the Navy.

The ship itself was left unmanned and adrift, according to report.

Headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, the group manufactures cars under brands including VW, Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini — all of which were in tow when the vessel set ablaze.

Over 100 of those cars were headed for the Port of Houston in Texas, with VW GTI, Golf R, and ID.4 models deemed to be at risk, according to the e-mail.

The auto industry is already struggling with supply issues, including COVID-19 pandemic-related staffing woes and the global chip shortage.

Likewise, Luke Vandezande, a Spokesperson for Porsche, said the company estimated around 1,100 of its vehicles were among those on board Felicity Ace at the time of the fire. Vandezande stated the automobile consumers affected by the incident are being contacted by their dealers.

“Our immediate thoughts are of relief that the 22 crew of the merchant ship Felicity Ace are safe and well,” said the Spokesperson.

A spokesperson for Lamborghini’s US operations, however, declined to comment on the number of cars the company had on board, or which models were affected, but said that they are in contact with the shipping company to get more information about the incident.

Some clients reportedly expressed their disappointment on social media. A Twitter user reported his custom spec’d Porsche Boxter Spyder was on board the ship. Standard models of the vehicle start around $99,650.

Felicity Ace is roughly the size of three football fields and was on its way to a port in Davisville, Rhode Island, when a distress signal was issued due to a fire on one of its cargo decks.

Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, the operator of Felicity Ace, said it had commissioned a salvage company to assess the situation. An initial team arrived in the Azores and was expected to reach the ship later Friday.

The company said in a statement: “Further salvage assets are being readied to attend the vessel.

“MOL will make every effort to contain the damage and resolve the situation as the main priorities.”

The registered owner of the vessel is Snowscape Car Carriers SA, and the protection and indemnity insurer is Britannia Steam Ship, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It wsa gathered it the incident was not the first time the Volkswagen Group has lost vehicles at sea.

When the Grande America caught fire and sank in 2019, over 2,000 luxury cars, including Audis and Porsches, sank with it, report stated.

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