It’s Been Exactly One Year Since the Felicity Ace Caught Fire With Nearly 4,000 Cars Onboard

The ship’s sinking sent ripples through the car industry, but the whole thing feels like a distant memory.

byPeter Holderith|
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The Felicity Ace, a purpose-built car carrier constructed in 2005, caught fire off the coast of the Azores one year ago today. Carrying 3,965 new and used vehicles, the ship sank beneath the waves March 1, a little less than two weeks after the crew was safely evacuated from the smoking hulk.

Onboard were not just any new and used cars, as it turns out. The vessel held 189 Bentleys, 1,110 Porsches, and the very last batch of Lamborghini Aventadors. To fulfill all the final customer orders for the vehicle, the Italian automaker had to restart production of the supercar, which ended not long ago.

Marinha Portuguesa

The cause of the fire is still unclear. After the incident, electric vehicles onboard were widely suspected as the culprit that contributed to the intensity of the blaze. As a result, some auto shipping companies have since refused to transport used EVs, opting to lose that business instead of risking a potentially devastating fire.

The Felicity Ace is currently sitting beneath 10,000 feet of water, so there's no chance that any of the vehicles can be salvaged. As previously mentioned, it wasn't just new cars that were lost. A 1977 Land Rover Santana (a knock-down kit of a Land Rover Defender) was destroyed, as well as a Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0. Also, sadly the 65th Honda Prelude SiR ever built sank beneath the waves as well.

It's estimated that Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines suffered a $500 million loss due to the ship's sinking. There have been no known attempts to reach the wreck at the bottom of the ocean.

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