On 16 February a fire started on the Panama flagged car carrier Felicity Ace. It was en route from Germany to the US East Coast.
It was carrying around 4000 vehicles with an estimated value of over $400 million elevated by the luxury cars it was carrying.
A salvage team was reported to have boarded the drifting ship by helicopter last week. A tow line was connected and the salvage tug ‘Bear’ began towing it to the Azores under escort by two additional tugs, ALP Guard and the Dian Kingdom, together with a large anchor handling tug with additional firefighting capability, named V.B. Hispanic.
A February 25th update said the stability of Felicity Ace remained stable and smoke was no longer visible. But today’s update said the ship had developed a starboard list.
The ship’s manager, MOL Ship Management (Singapore), confirmed that the vessel sank around 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday approximately 220 nautical miles off the Azores Islands, citing initial reports from the on-site salvage team.
Salvage vessels will remain in the area to monitor the situation.
The sinking of the Felicity Ace comes nearly two weeks after a fire broke out in the ship’s cargo area. Some of the cars on board were reportedly electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries that complicated firefighting efforts. Unfortunately with the ship now at the bottom of the ocean, we may never know what caused the initial fire or contributed to its spread.
Yet again the ocean is acting as the trash bin for our failings!