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Massive cargo ship carrying electric cars sinks in Atlantic Ocean after fire

The ship caught fire on February 16 near Faial island in Portugal's Azores.
The ship caught fire on February 16 near Faial island in Portugal's Azores. Copyright Portuguese Navy via AP
Copyright Portuguese Navy via AP
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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The Felicity Ace caught fire thirteen days ago off the coast of Portugal's Azores.

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A large cargo vessel carrying cars has sunk in the Atlantic Ocean, thirteen days after a fire broke out on board.

The ship's manager and Portuguese navy confirmed on Tuesday that the Felicity Ace sank around 400 kilometres off the Azores.

The Panama-flagged vessel was being towed after a salvage team had extinguished the fire, MOL Ship Management in Singapore said in a statement.

The 200-metre-long vessel had been sailing from Germany to the United States before it caught fire last month. Portugal's Air Force had evacuated the 22 crew members, before letting the ship drift for several days in the mid-Atlantic.

Ocean-going tugboats with firefighting equipment had been hosing down the ship’s hull to cool it.

It was not clear how many luxury cars were onboard, but vessels of the Felicity Ace’s size can carry at least 4,000 vehicles.

The ship was transporting electric and non-electric vehicles, according to Portuguese authorities.

Authorities suspect the fire may have broken out due to the lithium batteries used in electric vehicles, but an investigation into the cause of the blaze is still underway.

The Portuguese navy confirmed the sinking of the Felicity Ace, saying it occurred outside Portuguese waters.

There were also concerns that the sunken vessel could pollute the ocean, given that it had been carrying 2,000 metric tons of both fuel and oil.

The Portuguese navy said in a statement that only a few pieces of wreckage and a small patch of oil was visible where the ship went down. The tugboats were breaking up the patch with hoses, it added.

A Portuguese Air Force plane and a Portuguese navy vessel will remain at the scene on the lookout for signs of pollution.

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