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Burnt-out cargo ship carrying Porsches, Bentleys sinks near Portugal

The blaze on the ship carrying around 4,000 vehicles made by Volkswagen Group broke out on Feb. 16.

LISBON, March 1 (Reuters) - A burnt-out cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars, including Porsches and Bentleys, sank on Tuesday off the Portuguese Azores archipelago nearly two weeks after it caught fire, a port official said.

Joao Mendes Cabecas, the captain of the nearest port on the island of Faial, told Reuters the Panama-flagged Felicity Ace had sunk as efforts to tow it began due to structural problems caused by the fire and rough seas.

"When the towing started... water started to come in," he said. "The ship lost its stability and sank."

Image: FILE PHOTO: Ship Felicity Ace burns more than 100 km from the Azores island
Felicity Ace, which was traveling from Emden, Germany burns more than 100 km from the Azores islands, Portugal, on Feb. 18, 2022.Portuguese Navy / Reuters

The blaze on the ship carrying around 4,000 vehicles made by Volkswagen Group from Germany to the United States, broke out on Feb. 16. The 22 crew members were evacuated on the same day.

Cabecas said no oil leak had been reported so far but there were fears the fuel tanks could be damaged as the vessel lay at the bottom of the Atlantic at a depth of around 3,500 metres (2.17 miles).

Volkswagen, which said last week the damage to the vehicles was covered by insurance, confirmed the ship has sunk. Insurance experts said the incident could result in losses of $155 million.