A cargo ship full of luxury and high-end cars is adrift in the Atlantic Ocean (near the Azores) after a fire broke out and spread rapidly, forcing the crew to abandon the vessel. According to various media, the ship is carrying 3,965 units, mostly from the Volkswagen Group, among which 1,100 are Porsche vehicles.

The cargo ship, reports CNN, the 220-meter-long Felicity Ace, caught fire in the North Atlantic on Wednesday while carrying an exclusive cargo of Porsches and Volkswagens, plus Lamborghinis and Bugattis, from Emden, Germany, to Davisville, Rhode Island, in the United States. Audi confirmed that some of its vehicles were also on board, but did not indicate how many. At the time the fire broke out, the ship was sailing 90 nautical miles southwest of the Azores in Portugal, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Portuguese Navy.

The fire apparently broke out in the ship’s cargo hold, although other sources indicate that it started on deck. Its rapid spread forced the 22 crew members to leave the ship in a lifeboat. They were all picked up by the Resilient Warrior, a tanker operated by a Greek company. They were subsequently picked up by a Portuguese Navy helicopter and transferred to a hotel.

The ship’s owners are making arrangements for tugboats to redirect the drifting ship as it continues to burn. Registered in Panama, the Felicity Alice is operated by Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).

Porsche confirmed to CNN that several of its vehicles were among the cargo and that its dealers are communicating with customers with cars aboard the burning ship. “While it is too early to confirm what happened and next steps, we are, along with our colleagues at Porsche AG, supporting our customers and dealers as best we can to find solutions,” said Angus Fitton, vice president of public relations for Porsche Cars in the US.


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