Blaze on ship carrying Porsches and Bentleys could cost Volkswagen $155 million

Around 4,000 luxury vehicles, also including Audis and Lamborghinis, were aboard a vessel that is now adrift near the Azores islands in the Atlantic Ocean

Smoke escapes from the fire on the 'Felicity Ace' on February 18, 2022.
Smoke escapes from the fire on the 'Felicity Ace' on February 18, 2022.PORTUGUESE NAVY (via REUTERS)

The automaker Volkswagen AG is going to pay a hefty bill after a cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury vehicles caught fire near Portugal’s Azores Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, last week.

The risk-modeling company Russell Group has estimated that the German manufacturer stands to lose at least $155 million (around €135 million), according to news agency Reuters. This is nearly 40% of the value of the cars that the vessel was carrying, Bloomberg reported.

On board were Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis – all Volkswagen brands – with an estimated value of $405 million, according to the firm. The total value of goods on board is roughly $438 million.

The fire started on Friday, February 18, inside the hold of the Felicity Ace, which had departed from Emden in Germany 10 days earlier and was due to arrive in Davisville (Rhode Island) on February 23. The 22 members of the crew were rescued from the vessel.

The Felicity Ace is still adrift in the Atlantic Ocean and the fire had not been completely put out yet by Tuesday afternoon, but according to Mitsui there were no oil leaks and the ship remains stable. Heavy tug boats were on Tuesday spraying water on to the ship in a bid to extinguish the flames. The company also said it is cooperating with rescue teams and local authorities to find an “early solution” to the incident.

Russell Group’s estimates are based on the assumption that none of the vehicles will be recoverable. Although no information has emerged on how many cars of each brand were on board, The New York Times has reported that there were 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys.


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