The operator Felicity Ace, the ship carrying thousands of Porsche, Lamborghini and other Volkswagen AG vehicles, said it assumes the ship is still on fire almost a week after the crew abandoned the ship.
Two large tugs spray the ship, a Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd unit said on a website designed to provide updates on the incident. They will help check the position of the ship before an initial rescue team is already on site to inspect the carrier.
The fire, first reported around noon in Europe on February 16, could be costly for Volkswagen. Risk modeling company Russell Group estimates that there are $ 401 million cars on board and that the German manufacturer owns about $ 155 million. Anderson Economic Group, a Michigan consultant, has a $ 334.6 million loss.
Batteries make the work of the authorities more difficult
Of the nearly 4,000 VWs on board, the models include compact Golf cars and ID.4 electric crossovers, according to an internal email last week from a subsidiary of the US carmaker. Extinguishing lithium-ion batteries can take thousands of gallons of water – much more than is needed to extinguish a regular combustion engine.
The cause of the fire remains unclear. Two lifeboats with additional fire-fighting and towing capacity are on their way to the ship, one scheduled to arrive on Wednesday and the other on February 26.
The Portuguese navy said a team of experts is expected to fly to Felicity Ace on February 24 with an air force helicopter “to analyze the conditions” for towing the ship. The ship is currently 195 nautical miles south of the island of Faial in the Azores, the navy said in a statement posted on its website.
The white smoke that can be seen blowing from the ship has “diminished considerably,” the Navy said.