Skip to main content

Remember that burning ship carrying luxury cars? It sank

A burning cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars has sunk in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Felicity Ace vessel was reportedly carrying around 4,000 vehicles — among them Porsche, Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini vehicles — worth an estimated $400 million.

The Panama-flagged, MOL Ship Management-operated ship and its consignment of expensive vehicles sank near the Azores around 900 miles west of Portugal on Tuesday, March 1, Reuters reported. It now lies on the seabed some 3,000 meters down.

Joao Mendes Cabecas, the captain of a nearby port, told the news outlet that when the recovery crews began to tow the vessel, the Felicity Ace “lost its stability and sank.”

The Felicity Ace cargo ship carrying luxury cars.
The Felicity Ace shortly before it sunk on Tuesday, March 1. Portuguese Navy

The cars, owned by German auto giant Volkswagen, were en route from Germany to Rhode Island when the fire broke out on Wednesday, February 16. All 22 crew members were safely rescued on the same day.

The cause of the blaze is unlikely to ever be known, though some suggested it could have been the result of a malfunction with an electric car’s lithium-ion battery.

Affected customers are expected to be contacted by their dealers to inform them of the situation regarding their vehicle.

“We are already working to replace every car affected by this incident and the first new cars will be built soon,” Porsche told the Associated Press.

Volkswagen said prior to the loss of the ship that insurance would cover any vehicle damage.

An estimate published by risk solutions company Russell Group suggested that the Felicity Ace cargo vessel was carrying around $400 million worth of vehicles.

Commenting on the fire before the vessel went down, it said: “The incident comes at a bad time for global carmakers who are in the middle of a supply chain crisis sourcing semiconductors, resulting in new delays for new cars. An event like this will not do a great deal in instilling trust with consumers.”

Volkswagen has yet to make any public comment on the loss of the vehicles. Digital Trends has reached out to the carmaker and we will update this article when we hear back.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
The Tesla Model Y is far from my favorite EV, but I’m pretty close to buying one
Tesla Model Y One Millionth Car

I may finally be on my way toward buying my first EV. Sure, I've tested dozens of electric car models over the years, but despite that (or perhaps because of it), I have yet to buy one. But my family is growing, and my wife and I aren't so sure about carting our future kids around in an aging car that lacks the safety features of modern vehicles.

Because of the fact that we're expecting our kid in January, we have a bit of a deadline. So what are we leaning toward? Well, despite the fact that it's far from my favorite EV, we may actually end up just getting a Model Y.
Timing makes a difference
If the baby was coming along in a year's time, things might be completely different. There are a few reasons for that.

Read more
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally kicks up some dirt
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on a dirt road.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV pushed the hallowed Mustang nameplate in a different direction, and it's doing that again with a new performance variant. Debuting in 2024, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is designed for fun on both pavement and dirt.

Rallying is a form of motorsport where drivers compete to set the quickest time over a course — usually a closed road or trail — rather than a dedicated racetrack that includes a variety of surfaces like dirt, gravel, or even snow. Rallying has inspired some epic performance road cars over the years, including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Ford's own Focus RS, but it's never really been associated with the Mustang.

Read more
BMW scraps its unpopular approach to heated seats
Driver's seat and dashboard of the 2023 BMW iX M60.

BMW caused much consternation last year when it launched a subscription-only option for heated car seats.

The idea of having to pay a monthly fee of $18 to keep your posterior warm during the winter months still seems as absurd as ever, but the good news is that the German automaker has now decided to scrap the fee. What particularly irked customers was that they felt they were being forced to cough up extra for functions that would previously have been expected as standard. The fiasco even prompted a community of hackers to offer their services to unlock the feature for those unwilling to pay extra for it.

Read more