Firefighters battle electric vehicle fire aboard Felicity Ace

The 6,400 ua
Felicity As continues to burn off the coast of the Portuguese Azores islands with thousands of cars on board.

The Panamanian-flagged vessel caught fire last Wednesday while en route from Emden, Germany, to Rhode Island, United States. The drifting vessel remains stable and no pollution has been reported, MOL Shipmanagement Singapore said in an update. All crew members were evacuated safe and sound.

Of approximately 4,000 vehicles, an unknown number are all-electric and battery-powered. While it’s unclear whether the lithium-ion batteries started the fire first, they were ignited and the blaze requires specialist equipment to extinguish, a local port official said. Reutersadding that “the batteries ‘keep the fire going’.

London law firm Watson Farley & Williams said in a recent report that although it is unclear whether electric vehicles are more likely than ICE vehicles to catch fire, it is common ground that the consequences are potentially more disastrous. and more difficult to manage.

“If crews are not aware that fighting an electric vehicle fire requires a different technique than fighting a conventional fire on board, it is easy to see how an incident could lead to a total loss. The evidence indicates that current suppression and soaking systems will not be sufficient for this new hazard. New systems will need to be designed and incorporated into vessel design,” the law firm said.

The MOL said it had organized additional salvage and firefighting teams to support the 16-year-old ship. A large tug with firefighting equipment arrived from Gibraltar, while a second tug, also from Gibraltar, is expected to support the operation today. In addition, a rescue vessel with firefighting equipment is expected to arrive from Rotterdam on February 23 or 24.

About Mohammed B. Hale

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