Losses Estimated at $334M For Cargo Ship Fire, as Lithium-Ion Batteries Burned More Than a Week

“Volkswagen AG has actually lost hope that a lot of its approximately 4,000 cars aboard a freight ship that
caught fire last week in the Atlantic can be saved,” Bloomberg reported Friday, citing quotes that
the overall freight loss for the Felicity Ace might surpass a 3rd of a billion dollars.
” The blaze is believed to have actually lasted more than a week after the Panama-flagged ships crew members were left and it was left adrift.”

VWs Golf compact cars and trucks and ID.4 electric crossovers were among the automobiles aboard the ship, according to an internal e-mail last week from the car manufacturers U.S. operation. Headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, the group makes vehicles under brands including VW, Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini– all of which were on the ship. Previously today Qz.com argued that the fire was being fueled by lithium-ion batteries. Slashdot reader McGruber shared their report:

Previously this week Qz.com argued that the fire was being fueled by lithium-ion batteries. Saturday, João Mendes CabeÃas, captain of the port of Faial, the nearby Azorean island, informed Reuters that the batteries in the ships cargo are “keeping the fire alive …” Large quantities of dry chemicals are needed to smother lithium ion battery fires, which burn hotter and release poisonous gases in the procedure. Putting water onto the Felicity Ace wouldnt put out a lithium-ion battery fire, CabeÃas informed Reuters, and the added water weight might make the ship more unsteady.
According to a research study proposition at the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board, “Lithium-ion battery fire dangers are currently undermanaged in transit operations.”

Its not clear if the batteries contributed to the fire beginning in the first place– a greasy rag in a lubricant-slicked engine room or a fuel leakage are the normal suspects in ship fires– however the batteries are keeping the flames going now.
A forensic examination will take months to determine the cause. [Last] Saturday, João Mendes CabeÃas, captain of the port of Faial, the closest Azorean island, told Reuters that the batteries in the ships freight are “keeping the fire alive …” Large amounts of dry chemicals are required to smother lithium ion battery fires, which burn hotter and release toxic gases at the same time. Putting water onto the Felicity Ace wouldnt put out a lithium-ion battery fire, CabeÃas informed Reuters, and the included water weight might make the ship more unstable.
Electric car fires are rare, however pose their own sort of flammability threat, and one that ends up being increased as EVs go mainstream. Great deals of EVs organized together, as when they are transferred by freight ship, or electric buses parked in an over night lot, raise the risk that one flaming battery could ignite a chain reaction in adjacent batteries. According to a research proposal at the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board, “Lithium-ion battery fire dangers are currently undermanaged in transit operations.”
There have actually been more than 35 large lithium-ion battery fires because 2018, Paul Christensen, a specialist in lithium fires, told the Financial Times, including a 13-ton Tesla megapack storage battery in Victoria Australia that burned for three days. An electric ferryboat in Norway ignited in 2019, and in April 2021, a battery fire at a Beijing shopping center killed 2 firefighters.
In addition, car-carrying ships and ferries can deal with greater dangers from fires, according to insurance provider Allianz Globals head of marine risk. Due to the internal areas not being divided to make it much easier to transport vehicles, when a fire starts it can spread out more quickly.

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