A freighter full of Porsches and VWs is on fire and adrift in the Atlantic
The Portuguese Navy confirmed this morning that one of its patrol boats came to the aid of the Felicity Ace, a car transporter transiting the Atlantic Ocean, as reported by the Washington Post. The ship transmitted a distress signal after a fire broke out in one of the cargo decks, with the ship announced as “not under command” shortly afterwards. Fortunately, all 22 crew on board were reported to have been successfully evacuated from the vessel.
Updated: 2/17/22 9:10 PM ET: Minor details have been corrected regarding the Boxster Spider mentioned in the post.
the Felicity As had left the port of Emden, Germany, on February 10, carrying vehicles from Porsche and other brands of the Volkswagen Auto Group, among others. The ship was originally scheduled to arrive in Davisville, Rhode Island on the morning of February 23.
After transmitting the distress signal on Wednesday morning, the Panamanian-flagged vessel was soon reached by the Portuguese navy patrol boat as well as four merchant ships in the area. According to Naftika Chronikathe crew of Felicity As left the ship on a lifeboat and were picked up by tough warrior, a tanker operated by the Greek company Polemblos Shipping Limited. According to reports, 11 crew members have so far been recovered from the tough warrior by a Portuguese Navy helicopter. Efforts to bring the situation under control are continuing according to reports from the scene.
the Felicity As was built in 2005, measuring 656 feet long and 104 feet wide, with a load capacity of 17,738 tons. Fully loaded, the ship could carry nearly 4,000 vehicles. No details are currently available as to the cause of the fire other than that it started in the ship’s hold. The ship can be seen smoking in the distance in photos taken from the Resilient Warrior, shared by Naftika Chronika.
Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles, among others, were on board the carrier at the time of the incident, heading for North America. Members on 718Forum.com reported Porsche follow your dream service delivering a message that the company is “aware of an incident on the Felicity Ace”, which “carried certain Porsche vehicles”. The message indicates that dealers will provide customers with additional information, if necessary.
Likewise, members of the VWIDTalk and rennlist Porsche forums have speculated that their vehicles may have been affected by the fire on the Felicity Ace. According to previous import manifests filed in the United States, the ship regularly carried cars for Volkswagen, as well as its other brands, including Lamborghini, Audi and Porsche.
Matt Farah, the man behind The smoking tire Youtube channel, posted today regarding his own Porsche which was apparently aboard ship. “I ordered a Boxster Spyder in August, and was very excited to have it at the end of this month, and now it looks like it could become an artificial reef,” Farah said, adding that “I only say that because I know no one was hurt, which is obviously more important.” The car in question was a Boxster Spyder, which Farah planned to fit with a DeMan 4.5-liter flat-six engine after delivery, among other upgrades.
In a statement provided to The reader, Porsche said that “Our immediate thoughts are with the 22 crew members of the merchant vessel ‘Felicity Ace’, all of whom we understand to be safe and sound following their rescue by the Portuguese Navy following reports making state of a fire on board.” The company advised affected customers to contact their dealers, noting that “we believe a number of our cars are part of the cargo on board the vessel. No further details on 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.”
Some Porsche customers may be particularly concerned if their limited edition cars were damaged and destroyed in the incident. In the past, the company has struggled to repackage limited-edition cars, such as the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, when a number of them were lost in a freighter sinking in 2019.
Volkswagen, meanwhile, said that “we are aware of an incident today involving a freighter transporting Volkswagen Group vehicles across the Atlantic”, adding that “at this time we are not aware of any “No injuries. We are working with local authorities and the shipping company to investigate the cause of the incident.”
With the automotive industry already struggling with supply chain issues, this incident will deal an additional blow. Likewise, when a ship’s name makes headlines, it’s rarely for a good reason, as we all learned when the never given blocked the Suez Canal last year. However, the good thing to take away from this story is that no one was injured and the crew were rescued safely. Some cars may have been lost, which will cause a lot of pain and frustration, but all damaged cars will hopefully be replaced in time.