Over 500 EVs from BMW, Mercedes possibly charred on-board burning cargo ship

The car carrier on fire near the Netherlands coast has almost 500 electric cars on board, according to its operator, more than was previously reported.

By: Bloomberg
| Updated on: 28 Jul 2023, 16:08 PM

This aerial photograph shows emergency boats extinguishing a fire aboard the Panamanian-registered car carrier cargo ship Fremantle Highway, off the coast of the northern Dutch island of Ameland. There were 3,000 vehicles on board. (AFP)

The cause of the blaze on the Fremantle Highway is still unknown, according to the Dutch coast guard, which previously said the initial cargo list they received suggested just 25 EVs were on the ship. The coast guard has denied reports that it had been confirmed the fire broke out in a section of the carrier where electric cars were stored.

Whether EVs had anything to do with precipitating the blaze, the number on board is relevant to what’s likely to be a days-long effort to put it out. Lithium-ion battery fires burn hotter and last longer than gasoline. They can also be difficult to extinguish, sometimes reigniting hours or days after seemingly having been put out.

The ship is carrying a total of 3,783 vehicles, including 498 electric cars, according to its charterer Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. The fire was still ablaze with the situation stable as of Friday. Dutch authorities have established a towing connection with the vessel, but haven’t been able to extinguish the fire because putting too much water on board would cause stability problems.

Also Read : Ocean shippers playing catch up to electric vehicle fire risk

There are several hundred BMW AG cars on board, as well as roughly 300 Mercedes-Benz Group AG vehicles, representatives for the companies have said. The Panama-flagged Fremantle Highway was en route to Port Said, Egypt, after a recent stop in the German port of Bremerhaven, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the Japanese firm that owns the vessel, said the final destination for the carrier was Singapore. The company also owned the Ever Given, the huge container ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal in March 2021.

First Published Date: 28 Jul 2023, 16:08 PM IST

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