Burning electric vehicle batteries complicate firefighting on a drifting cargo ship

The large number of electric vehicles on board a burning ship in the Atlantic is complicating efforts to extinguish the blaze, Dutch experts tasked with salvaging the ship said on Sunday.

It’s unclear if the fire was caused by the electric cars, whose lithium-ion batteries are known to have caught fire, but the presence of burning batteries on board means SMIT Salvage, the company tasked with salvaging the ship, is at risk of fire. that is spreading quickly and cannot be controlled with water alone, the company owners said.

“The cars are electric and part of the fire is the batteries that are still burning,” said a spokesman for Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, which owns SMIT Salvage and the company that rescued the ship Ever Given after it was stranded in the Suez Canal last year.

The spokesman added that it is too early to say how SMIT will put out the battery fires.

The 60,000-ton merchant ship Felicity Ace transported around 4,000 cars from Germany to the United States, including 1,100 Porsche sports cars and 189 super-luxury Bentleys, all of which are Volkswagen AG VOW units.
when it caught fire last Wednesday, resulting in the evacuation of the 22 crew members. Since then it has been drifting off the Azores islands.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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