Burning ship carrying Porsches adrift near Azores without crew

None of 22 crew members hurt after vessel with almost 4,000 VW group cars onboard caught fire

A burning ship carrying almost 4,000 cars – including 1,100 Porsches – has been drifting in the mid-Atlantic after the vessel’s 22 crew members were evacuated, the Portuguese navy has said.

The ship Felicity Ace, which was carrying a number of Volkswagen Group vehicles from Germany to the US, caught fire near the Azores on Wednesday evening, a VW spokesperson said on Friday.

None of the crew members evacuated on Wednesday were hurt, Portugal’s navy said.

About 1,100 cars were on board, according to a Porsche spokesperson. Audi said some of its vehicles were also on the specialised car-transport vessel but did not state how many.

An internal email from Volkswagen US said the ship was carrying 3,965 vehicles of the VW, Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini brands, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported.

An automotive enthusiast website, The Drive, reported the ship was carrying 189 Bentleys. The luxury British carmaker is owned by Volkswagen.

Volkswagen did not confirm the number of cars and said it was awaiting further information.

A picture shared by the Portuguese maritime authority on its website on Wednesday showed clouds of smoke billowing from the ship.

Felicity Ace was travelling from Emden,where Volkswagen has a factory, to Davisville, Rhode Island, according to the website Marine Traffic.

The fire is active but under control, the captain of the port of Horta on the Azorean island of Faial told the Portuguese news agency Lusa on Thursday night.

Azorean authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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