A Dire Fire


The average cost of an electric car is $50,000. That’s 13,550 McRibs, 385 Air Jordans, or 62 iPhone 12’s. Well, imagine the damage caused when the Felicity Ace, a cargo ship carrying over 4,000 electric cars, caught on fire and sank.


On February 16th, 2022, a fire broke out in the cargo hold of the ship. It’s speculated that a lithium battery in one of the thousands of cars on board sparked the fire but it is not confirmed. The Felicity Ace was on its way from Emden, Germany, having set sail on February 10th. Its planned destination was Davisville, Rhode Island but its real destination would end up being in the deep cave of the Atlantic Ocean just outside of the Azores, one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal.

Thankfully, the 22 crew members were able to abandon the ship with help from the Portuguese Navy. While the crew was safe and sound, tugboats would be tasked with pulling the burning ship ashore. While being towed, the ship lost stability and began to sink. On March 1st, 2022, the Felicity Ace sank around 9:00 a.m. local time. The fire and sinking of the ship brought 400 million dollars down into the Atlantic Ocean along with it.


Once news broke out, car buyers freaked out all over the world. Reports and statements from Porsche told their customers that they’d be contacted by their dealers and receive replacements in the future. Now, this can be seen by some as good news but there are now more than 4,000 lithium batteries deep in the Atlantic Ocean. Thewater inside of these dangerous batteries can become corroded, overheat, or even explode. With these batteries being not far from Portugal, this water source could possibly become contaminated over time causing concern for the health of Portuguese citizens and fishermen as the fish can become sick as well.


This 650-foot-long and 60,000-ton cargo ship was not only transporting these expensive cars but also held 2,200 tons of fuel and 2,200 tons of oil. The Portuguese Navy reported that only a small patch of oil was visible at the time of the sinking. Officials still fear this possible ocean pollution due to the navy not having control or overseeing the spillage as the ship sinks down further into the ocean.


While this big wreck may not seem like it’d affect a small school in the middle of nowhere, this type of incident can very well happen a lot more in the future. With the expansion and inventions of more electric means of transportation, one day our oceans could be filled with more batteries than fish. While this won’t stop people from dreaming and buying luxury 50,000 dollar cars, hopefully, it can help researchers, scientists, and engineers create safer ways of producing and shipping these cars across the ocean.