Second Cargo Ship Disaster Blamed on BEVs

A devastating cargo ship carrier fire is being blamed on the BEVs it was carrying among a total of 3,000 cars.

An initial investigation suggests one or more of the 25 BEVs on board the vessel off the Dutch island of Ameland could have erupted in flames when battery packs overheated in transit. One sailor has been killed and 22 others hurt in the disaster. Last year a cargo ship carrying 4,000 luxury cars caught fire and sank off the Azores. Lithium-ion batteries in the cars caught fire and firefighters needed specialist equipment to put out the fire.

The BBC reports a major salvage operation is in operation in an area of the North Sea designated a World Heritage site. Crew members were taken to hospital with breathing problems, burns and other injuries.

Pictures and video shared by the Dutch coastguard showed the Panamanian-flagged Freemantle Highway engulfed in smoke with flames licking the deck. The coastguard told Dutch news agency ANP the fire could continue for days. The sides of the ship were being doused with water to cool it down but rescue boats are avoiding using too much water because of the risk of sinking.

The cargo ship left the port of Bremerhaven in northern Germany at around 15:00 local time on Tuesday on course for Port Said in Egypt. It ran into trouble overnight, about 17 miles north of the Ameland in the Wadden Sea, on the edge of the North Sea.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_  and Threads

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