The largely burnt-out vessel was being towed to a safe harbor when it sank yesterday, according to a report provided by the salvage team at Singapore’s MOL Ship Management, which operates the Ship flying the Panamanian flag. A Volkswagen Group spokesperson confirmed that the automaker was aware of the sinking of the ship.
The Felicity Ace carried nearly 4,000 vehicles from various brands of the Volkswagen Group. A number of vehicles were all-electric, including models from Volkswagen and Audi, which could have made the fire more difficult to control. Fires involving lithium-ion batteries are particularly difficult to extinguish.
Among the ship’s Lamborghini cars were Aventador models. The V12-powered Aventador is Lamborghini’s most expensive regular production model, priced at over $400,000. Less than 800 are built each year and this is the last year the model is offered. Lamborghini of America CEO Andrea Baldi recently told industry publication Automotive News that it could be difficult to replace the cars because each is highly customized and, as is the case, customers expect months for their cars. Most of the ship’s Lamborghinis were Urus SUVs and cheaper Huracán supercars.
Total damage costs for all vehicles were estimated at around $335 million. VW said the damage would be covered by insurance.
The ship was traveling from Emden, Germany en route to Davisville, Rhode Island when it caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean about 90 miles south of the Azores. The Azores are islands in the Atlantic west of mainland Portugal.
The ship released no pollutants into the water as it burned, according to the shipping company. The environmental impact of the total immersion of the ship in water is not yet known.