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A risk modeling firm estimates last week’s German cargo ship fire destroyed more than $400 million in luxury cars

The Felicity Ace ship caught fire when it was on its way from Germany to the US last Wednesday.


  • The 650-foot-long Felicity Ace, caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean last Wednesday.
  • The ship was carrying around $401 million worth of vehicles on board, risk assessment company the Russell Group said in an email. 
  • The group said it believed the Volkswagen Group would suffer around $155 million in losses.

A freak fire on a cargo ship traversing the Atlantic Ocean destroyed around $401 million worth of luxury cars and commercial vehicles, according to an estimate from the risk modeling firm Russell Group.

The 650-foot-long Felicity Ace caught fire as it voyaged from Germany to the US last Wednesday. The Portuguese Navy safely evacuated all 22 crew members the same day. 

Cargo on the ship included around 4,000 vehicles from the Volkswagen Group — including 1,100 Porsche cars, Bloomberg reported, citing a spokesperson for the brand. The boat also carried Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini autos, per Bloomberg.

The vehicle count has not been independently verified by Insider. The Volkswagen Group did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Analysts from the Russell Group say the fire will likely cost the German automaker at least $155 million.  

“It appears that everything above the waterline has been burnt, although vehicles stowed below the waterline will likely also be affected by burning debris from upper decks and fire-fighting water,” said shipping claims specialist WK Webster in a note on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press, citing a Portuguese naval officer, reported that the fire had begun subsiding. According to the AP, the ship is expected to be towed to the Bahamas.

The blaze comes at an inopportune time for the auto industry.

“The incident comes at a bad time for global carmakers who are in the middle of a supply chain crisis sourcing semiconductors, resulting in new delays for new cars. An event like this will not do a great deal in instilling trust with consumers,” said Suki Basi, managing director of the Russell Group.


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