Fire-damaged Felicity Ace sinks off Azores during tow

(LISBON, Portugal) — A damaged cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars, including Porsches and Bentleys, sank on Tuesday off the Portuguese Azores nearly two weeks after it caught fire, Reuters reported.

Joao Mendes Cabecas, the captain of the nearest port on the island of Faial, told Reuters the Panama-flagged Felicity Ace had sunk as efforts to tow it began due to structural problems caused by the fire and rough seas.

Portuguese navy photo

“When the towing started … water started to come in,” he said. “The ship lost its stability and sank.”

The fire on the roll-on/roll-off ship, which was carrying about 4,000 vehicles from Germany to the United States, started on Feb. 16. The 22 crewmembers were evacuated on the same day.

Cabecas said no pollution had been reported so far, but there were fears the fuel tanks could be damaged as the vessel lay at the bottom of the Atlantic at a depth of around 3,500 meters (2.17 miles).

By Rich Miller