A cargo ship carrying thousands of vehicles that caught on fire near the Azores has now sunk into the Atlantic Ocean, officials confirmed on Tuesday.
The Portuguese Navy confirmed on social media that the Felicity Ace sunk about 25 nautical miles outside the limit of the Azores’ economic zone in the Atlantic. The ocean depth, naval officials estimated, is about 10,000 feet in that area.
“The weather was pretty rough out there,” said Pat Adamson, a spokesperson for MOL Ship Management, which operates the vessel, according to Bloomberg News. “And then she sank, which was a surprise.”
After the ship sank, it left debris and a “small patch of oily waste, which is being dispersed by tugboats’ water jets,” the Portuguese Navy said. The site is now being monitored by Portuguese and EU environmental agencies.
The merchant ship, which was traveling to the United States from Germany, was carrying about 4,000 cars, including ones made by Volkswagen, Porsche, Bentley, and others. There were reports saying the ship was also carrying electric vehicles on board.
“While it remains too early to confirm what occurred and next steps, we are–along with our colleagues at Porsche AG–supporting our customers and our dealers as best we can to find solutions,” said Angus Fitton, a Porsche vice president, in reports published in February. “We are in contact with the shipping company and the details of the cars on board are now known.”
Last month, one Twitter user, Matt Farah, who operates the SmokingTire website, wrote that his Porsche was on the burning ship.
“I just got the call from my dealer. My car is now adrift, possibly on fire, in the middle of the ocean,” he tweeted at the time.
A Bentley spokesperson told the BBC that its cars were also on the beleaguered ship. Officials told Automotive News that they believe that dozens of Lamborghinis including Urus SUVs as well as Aventador and Huraca models were on the vessel.
“We don’t know yet the final outcome,” the CEO of Automobili Lamborghini America, Andrea Baldi, told the outlet. “We also are waiting for official information for the time being. We have informed our dealers, and they have informed our customers, because whatever happens, in any case, there will be a delay.”
The Aventador model, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each, is sold out and is nearing the end of its production run, the site noted.
“The car is sold out, so there is always a possibility out of 563 units that some cancellation can allow an Aventador replacement, but I prefer to hope for the time being that at least the few Aventadors on the ship will be safe,” Baldi told Automotive News.
The cause of the Felicity Ace blaze remains unclear.