A cargo ship that caught fire while transporting thousands of Volkswagen Group vehicles across the Atlantic in February sank on Tuesday, according to a statement from its operator.
The Felicity Ace sank around 9 a.m. local time off of the coast of Portugal, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), its Singapore-based operator, said on Tuesday. Salvage crews will stay in the area to monitor the situation, the company said.
The ship was transporting nearly 4,000 vehicles from Germany to a port in Rhode Island when a fire broke out on February 16 and the crew was evacuated. An unspecified number of Audis and 189 Bentleys were among the Felicity Ace’s cargo, company representatives told The Drive. A Porsche spokesperson confirmed to Insider that roughly 1,100 of the brand’s vehicles were aboard as well.
Germany’s Volkswagen Group also sells vehicles in the US under the Lamborghini and Volkswagen brands.
The Felicity Ace remained adrift, on fire, for days before firefighting vessels arrived to battle the blaze, according to MOL. On February 25, salvage crews began towing the vessel to a safe area. The Felicity Ace toppled over and sank before making it to its destination.
The incident came during a chaotic time for the auto industry. Parts shortages, COVID-19 infections, and clogged ports have roiled car manufacturing and sales for the better part of two years. As a result, US dealerships have been struggling with a lack of new inventory, driving car prices to new highs.