A burning cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars has sunk in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Felicity Ace vessel was reportedly carrying around 4,000 vehicles — among them Porsche, Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini vehicles — worth an estimated $400 million.
The Panama-flagged, MOL Ship Management-operated ship and its consignment of expensive vehicles sank near the Azores around 900 miles west of Portugal on Tuesday, March 1, Reuters reported. It now lies on the seabed some 3,000 meters down.
Joao Mendes Cabecas, the captain of a nearby port, told the news outlet that when the recovery crews began to tow the vessel, the Felicity Ace “lost its stability and sank.”
The cars, owned by German auto giant Volkswagen, were en route from Germany to Rhode Island when the fire broke out on Wednesday, February 16. All 22 crew members were safely rescued on the same day.
The cause of the blaze is unlikely to ever be known, though some suggested it could have been the result of a malfunction with an electric car’s lithium-ion battery.
Affected customers are expected to be contacted by their dealers to inform them of the situation regarding their vehicle.
“We are already working to replace every car affected by this incident and the first new cars will be built soon,” Porsche told the Associated Press.
Volkswagen said prior to the loss of the ship that insurance would cover any vehicle damage.
An estimate published by risk solutions company Russell Group suggested that the Felicity Ace cargo vessel was carrying around $400 million worth of vehicles.
Commenting on the fire before the vessel went down, it said: “The incident comes at a bad time for global carmakers who are in the middle of a supply chain crisis sourcing semiconductors, resulting in new delays for new cars. An event like this will not do a great deal in instilling trust with consumers.”
Volkswagen has yet to make any public comment on the loss of the vehicles. Digital Trends has reached out to the carmaker and we will update this article when we hear back.