Cargo Ship Fire Fueled By Car Lithium-Ion Batteries

Feb 22, 2022 2 min read
Cargo Ship Fire Fueled By Car Lithium-Ion Batteries

And the Felicity Ace just keeps on burning…

A lot of people have been wondering why nothing has been done to put out the fire on the Felicity Ace, the cargo ship adrift and ablaze in the Atlantic Ocean. With Porsches, Bentleys, Volkswagens, and other cars on board, the cargo is definitely valuable, but it’s also part of the problem. Even through there’s plenty of water around to throw on the blaze, those nifty lithium-ion batteries used in hybrid and all-electric cars have made fighting the inferno difficult.

With the fire breaking out on February 16, it’s still going, thanks to the cars’ batteries. Since there are about 4,000 vehicles on board and as we understand it many are hybrid or EVs, there’s plenty of fuel to keep the blaze going. Firefighters have struggled with this reality when it comes to car crashes involving lithium-ion batteries, since water won’t extinguish the flames.

As the fire burns the cargo ship and the “green” vehicles onboard, those lithium-ion batteries along with the plastic and other materials are emitting all kinds of pollutants into the atmosphere. It’s an ironic twist considering the future owners likely thought ordering the cars would cut down on emissions.

We noted before that one of the vehicles on the cargo ship is a Porsche 718 Spyder owned by Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire. At the very least it must have some serious smoke damage at this point.

The Portuguese are sending a team with special equipment to put out the cargo ship fire. That means plenty of dry chemicals to smother the inferno since it burns hotter than one fueled by gasoline. However, they’re running out of time as one official told the media the blaze is getting close to the Felicity Ace’s fuel tank.

For now, nobody knows if the lithium-ion batteries started the fire in the Felicity Ace. Considering hybrids and especially EVs have been known to spontaneously combust in rare incidents, it’s certainly possible. However, it’s also possible the fire started in the ship’s engine room or was caused by a fuel leak. Since the blaze is still going, there’s no way to perform an investigation. At this point, we wonder if there will be anything left of the ship to investigate, or if the inferno and ocean will claim it all.

Source: Quartz

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