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VW Group Cars in a cargo ship sink to the bottom of Atlantic

Written by Nizam Shaikh

Merchant Vessel Felicity Ace, a roll-on/roll-off cargo ship built by Shin Kurushima Dockyard, has capsized, taking with it around 4,000 cars from the Volkswagen Group. Reportedly, the cargo vessel was carrying Lamborghini Urus, Huracan and Aventador, including the last Aventador models produced by the Italian brand. Also, on board were Volkswagen Golf R, Golf GTI, ID.4 EV and Arteon. Along with this, unspecified Bentley and Porsche models were also being transported on-board the Felicity Ace.

Felicity Ace – Mishap Chronology

The vehicle carrier was located at position 37-degrees 26′ 29.2″ N, 029-degrees 29′ 21.8″ W as reported by MarineTraffic Terrestrial Automatic Identification System when the ship caught fire. Felicity Ace was sailing under the flag of Panama and was last reported around 90 nautical miles southwest of the Azores in the Atlantic.

Fire On-Board

On 17th February 2022, MOL Ship management Singapore (Mitsui O.S.K Lines), through a press statement, reveals that car carrier “Felicity Ace” (IMO 9293911) caught fire on 16th February, and the Master has taken the prudent decision to abandon the ship. MOL also announced that all 22 crew on-board the ship were rescued with assistance from commercial ships and helicopter in the area. The ship was on passage from Germany to the USA when the fire occurred.

Rescue Operations

MOL also revealed on 18th February that salvage crew has been appointed, and further assets have been readied to attend the vessel. The Portuguese Navy, through the Ponta Delgada Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), also has a warship standing by and monitoring the drift of Felicity Ace. On 21st February, Felicity Ace Incident Information Centre reported the arrival of two large tugs with firefighting equipment; however, no oil leakage was confirmed from the vessel.

Salvage and Towing Begins

On 25th February, it was reported that smoke leaving the vessel has stopped, and the salvage team was able to board the Felicity Ace by a helicopter. The vessel was being towed by large salvage craft ‘Bear’ to a safe area off the Azores. Felicity Ace was also accompanied by two tugs, ‘ALP Guard’ and ‘Dian Kingdom’, along with ‘V.B. Hispanic’ with fire fighting capability.

Ship Capsizes near the Azores

MOL finally reported that ‘Felicity Ace’ car carrier had sunk at around 9 Am local time, having suffered a list to starboard. The last vessel position was around 220nm off the Azores, where small oil slick is seen in the water, and MOL continues to monitor the situation of the area.

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