A cargo ship packed with Porsches, Bentleys, Audis and Volkswagens have been abandoned in the middle of the Atlantic after sailors aboard the vessel somehow managed to save their lives after it went up in flames on Wednesday afternoon. The enormous cargo ship named Felicity Ace caught fire in the mid-Atlantic Azores Islands, and 22 crew members had to be evacuated onto lifeboats, according to Portugal's navy.
The 650-foot ship was ablaze and floating near the Azores Islands, according to the Portuguese navy. It was on its way from Emden, Germany, to Providence, Rhode Island. The crew members were rescued by Portuguese ships and planes.
Burnt to Ashes
According to Portugal's navy, the 650-foot-long ship was carrying an enormous number of Porsches, Audis, Volkswagens and Bentleys when it caught fire on Wednesday afternoon. As of Thursday afternoon, Felicity Ace could be sighted burning in the middle of the Atlantic with no idea of the extent of the damage.
However, all the 22 sailors aboard the ship have been evacuated.
Nearly 200 of the cars were Bentleys. Felicity Ace regularly transports cars for Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Audi and Porsche.
The ship can carry up to 4,000 cars and had started off from Germany on February 10. It was scheduled to reach the port of Davisville in the United States of Rhode Island on February 23.
The fire is believed to have started in the ship's cargo hold, although the exact reason is unknown. Porsche reportedly stated that those waiting for delivery would be contacted with additional information.
According to a statement from the Portuguese Navy, the crew was safely picked up and transferred to a local hotel. The rescue was managed by the Ponta Delgada Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center. According to the statement, there has been no visible pollution as a result of the fire.
While the ship burns, its owners have arranged for a tow. The Felicity Alice is a Panama-registered ship managed by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, a Japanese shipping company (MOL).
According to Portugal's navy, rescue operations are on, with patrol boats and merchant vessels helping in the process. According to a CNN Business report, Porsche acknowledged that many of its vehicles were among the cargo, and that clients whose vehicles were on board the burning ship are being contacted by their dealers.
"While it remains too early to confirm what occurred and next steps, we are -- along with our colleagues at Porsche AG -- supporting our customers and our dealers as best we can to find solutions," said Angus Fitton, Vice President of PR at Porsche Cars North America.
Many Porsche lovers have been trying to logging into the Track Your Dream service, which details the progress of the car's delivery.
Matt Farah, the host of YouTube's "The Smoking Tire," appears to be one of those consumers. When asked on Twitter what he'll do if his delivery sinks and burns, Farah, who said he was waiting for a sports car he ordered in August, appeared annoyed.
"The Boxster Spyder with Deman 4.5 motor and shorty gears is the best sports car of all time, hands down," he tweeted. "I had it specced exactly as I wanted it. There is no moving on."
Volkswagen also released a statement: "We are aware of an incident today involving a cargo ship transporting Volkswagen Group vehicles across the Atlantic. At this time, we are not aware of any injuries. We are working with local authorities and the shipping company to investigate the cause of the incident."