A massive cargo ship carrying almost 4000 brand new vehicles has sunk off the Portuguese Azores archipelago roughly two weeks after it caught on fire.
The Felicity Ace reportedly caught fire near the Azores islands in the North Atlantic and all 22 crew members were evacuated when the fire broke out on February 16.
Porsches and Bentleys were part of the cargo destroyed as social media went into a frenzy about the loss of these luxury vehicles. One Twitter user even reported that his custom spec’d Porsche Boxster Spyder (valued at almost R1.5 million) was on board the ship.
The Panama-flagged ship had sunk as efforts to tow it began due to structural problems caused by the fire and rough seas, as Joao Mendes Cabecas, the captain of the nearest port on the island of Faial explained to Reuters.
In a statement, the Portuguese Navy said early on Tuesday morning, during the towing process which had begun on 24 February, “the ship “Felicity Ace” lost stability as it sank at about 25 nautical miles, equivalent to 46 kilometers, outside the limit of the Economic Zone Exclusive of Portugal.”
Insurance experts indicated that the incident could result in losses of $155 million while Volkswagen said the damage to the vehicles was covered by insurance, according to reports.
Concerns were raised about the ship’s potential environmental damage to the Azores’ ecosystem as the archipelago is home to coral reefs, tuna, sharks and dolphins, but it was unclear how its sinking may harm the area, The Washington Post explains.
The area is also home to sperm whales, blue whales and humpback whales. “A massive vessel like the Felicity Ace can hold more than three million liters of heavy fuel, as well as oil,” environmental group Oceana says.
“Some debris and a small stain of oily waste are recorded on the site, which is being dispersed by the water jets of the trailers and which is being monitored by the Department of Pollution of the National Maritime Authority and by European Maritime Security Agency (EMSA),” the Portuguese navy adds.
Picture: Portuguese Navy / Twitter