Electric vehicles set cargo ships on fire
Fire was the main cause of all damage in 2022, accounting for the loss of eight ships and more than 200 accidents, a report by the Allianz insurance company reveals.
The towing of the cargo ship Fremantle Highway, which had been burning off the Dutch coasts of the North Sea for days, was launched on Sunday. The freighter set out from the port of Bremerhaven, Germany, carrying 2857 cars on board. The car carrier was on its way to Port Said, Egypt, when a fire broke out overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. One of the electric cars on board could have caught fire, Dutch public media quoted the vessel’s Japanese owner as saying. Some of the 23-strong Indian crew of the ship could not be rescued unharmed: several were injured during the rescue operation and one crew member died on board of a rescue boat.
Statek Fremantle Highway od kilku dni płonie. Znajduje się na nim 3783 samoch. osobowych z tego 500 elektrycznych. Nie wiadomo ile z nich uda się ocalić lub czy statek nie zatonie, podobnie jak stało się to z samochodowcem Felicity Ace, który zatonął w podobnych okolicznościach. pic.twitter.com/b84vn9Rvnj
— PikuśPOL 🇵🇱 📿 (@pikus_pol) July 31, 2023
The burning car carrier Fremantle Highway drifting off the Dutch coast has almost 500 electric vehicles, significantly more than the 25 earlier reported by the coastguard https://t.co/x10JhqDG76 pic.twitter.com/3r5ipgAb9C
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 29, 2023
Presumably, the fire broke out because the battery in one of the electric cars on board ignited. The flames rapidly spread to the other vehicles and eventually to the entire carrier. The danger of fire caused by electric cars is not unknown, with a growing number of organisations, institutes and researchers having drawn attention to the risks of a deadly disaster.
In its annual report published at the end of May, the Allianz insurance company highlighted the high fire risk of shipping electric cars, revealing that
fire was the main cause of all damage in 2022, accounting for the loss of eight ships and more than 200 accidents. This is the highest number in a decade,
the German Junge Freiheit newspaper writes in its review of the insurance company’s report. Electric vehicles and other battery-powered goods on board of ships are the main causes of fire, the insurer says. Allianz has previously warned of a potential disaster like the one that has just occurred off the Dutch coast.
Experts say that fires in electric vehicles are particularly insidious because they are extremely difficult to extinguish, and even if put out, they can spontaneously reignite. In addition, the flames spread rapidly to other cargo and it can take days to quench the fire on board of a large vessel, with the job of rescue teams made more difficult by constant winds. Such a fire could also lead to a natural disaster, because if it is not only electric vehicles that catch fire, the oils and other harmful substances in fossil-fuelled cars will spill into the sea, posing a serious threat to wildlife. If the fuel from the vessel also spills into the water, the harm is even greater.