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EV Suspected As Cause Of Cargo Ship Fire That Burned 3,000 Cars

Vehicle carrying ship the Fremantle Highway has been evacuated in the North Sea after it caught fire with 23 crew and more than 3,000 cars onboard. The ship, which was sailing off the coast of The Netherlands when the blaze struck, was carrying almost 500 electric vehicles, one of which is thought to have sparked the fire.

First reported by Sky News in the UK, the vehicle carrier was evacuated at sea after crews couldn’t get the fire under control. Boats and helicopters were called in to evacuate the 23 crew members, but one person has so far died as a result of the fire.

At the time of the fire, the ship was sailing 17 miles north of the island of Ameland, in The Netherlands, which is around 110 miles from the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. It has since been towed to safety, and more details have emerged about the cargo onboard the ship, as Automotive News Europe reports:

“There were 3,783 vehicles on board, including 498 battery electric vehicles, said a Tokyo-based spokesperson for K Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha), which had chartered the vessel.

“He declined to say anything about the car brands, including whether or not it included any cars from Japanese manufacturers.

A photo of the smoking Fremantle Highway car carrying ship.

The ship was towed out of shipping lanes earlier today.
Photo: Dutch Coast Guard / Handout/Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)

Once crewmembers had been evacuated from the ship, they were taken for medical treatment on the Dutch mainland. Injuries reported included smoke inhalation or other injuries picked up during the evacuation, a coastguard spokesperson told Sky.

Following the evacuation, the Fremantle Highway was towed away from the busy shipping lanes in the North Sea earlier today (July 26). Emergency services remain on the scene of the burning ship, which measures almost 200m long.

Following the fire, both BMW and Mercedes-Benz have said that they had cars onboard the ship, which was sailing from the German port of Bremen to Port Said in Egypt.

The blaze about the Fremantle Highway follows a similar disaster aboard the Felicity Ace cargo ship last year. The ship, which caught fire while crossing the Atlantic Ocean in February 2022, was packed full of luxury cars from the likes of Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini.

Update (1 P.M. ET July 28th 2023): This story initially stated that the Fremantle Highway was carrying 3,000 cars, of which just 25 were EVs. However, it has now been updated to show that the actual cargo comprised of 3,783 vehicles, including 498 EVs.


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