Thanks to The Drive for this:
The Portuguese Navy has confirmed this morning that one of its patrol boats came to the aid of the Felicity Ace, a car carrier transiting the Atlantic Ocean.
The vessel transmitted a distress signal after fire broke out in one of the cargo decks, with the ship announced as “not under command” shortly afterwards.
Thankfully, the 22 crew on board have been reported as successfully evacuated from the ship.
The Felicity Ace had departed from the port in Emden, Germany on February 10, 2022 believed to be carrying vehicles from Porsche and other Volkswagen Auto Group brands, among others.
The ship was originally expected to arrive at Davisville, Rhode Island on the morning of February 23.
After transmitting the distress signal on Wednesday morning, the Panama-flagged ship was quickly reached by the Portugese Navy patrol boat as well as four merchant ships in the area.
According to Naftika Chronika, the crew of the Felicity Ace left the ship on a lifeboat and were picked up by Resilient Warrior, a tanker operated by Greek company Polembros Shipping Limited. Reportedly, 11 of the crew have so far have been picked up from the Resilient Warrior by a Portuguese Navy helicopter. Efforts to bring the situation under control are ongoing according to reports from the scene.
The Felicity Ace was built in 2005, measuring 656 feet long and 104 feet wide, with a carrying capacity of 17,738 tons. Fully loaded, the ship could carry nearly 4,000 vehicles. No details are currently available as to the cause of the fire, other than that it broke out in the ship’s cargo hold.
Matt Farah, the man behind The Smoking Tire YouTube channel, posted today regarding his own Porsche that was apparently onboard the ship. “I ordered a Boxster Spyder in August, and I was very excited to get it at the end of this month, and now it seems like it might become an artificial reef,” said Farah, adding that “I’m only saying this because I know no one was hurt, which is obviously more important.” The car in question was a Boxster Spyder, which Farah planned to fit with an DeMan 4.5L flat-six engine after delivery, among other upgrades.
Some Porsche customers may be particularly concerned if their limited-edition cars have been damaged and destroyed in the incident. The company has in the past made efforts to remanufacture limited-edition cars, such as the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, when a number were lost when a cargo ship sank back in 2019.
With the automotive industry already struggling with supply chain issues, this incident will come as a further blow. Similarly, when a ship’s name is all over the news, it’s rarely for a good reason, as we all learned when the Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal last year. However, the good thing to take away from this story is that nobody has been hurt, and the crew were rescued safely. Some cars may have been lost, which will cause much pain and frustration, but any cars damaged will hopefully be replaced in good time.