Cargo ship carrying luxury cars bound for Connecticut sinks in the Atlantic

At least two Connecticut consumers were among those affected when a large freighter carrying luxury cars from Germany sank in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after a fire broke out on board .

Chip Gengras, owner of Gengras Volkswagen in Plainville, said two vehicles his customers ordered from the automaker were among those that sank when the freighter, Felicity Ace, lost stability and sank. The ship was around 250 miles off the Portuguese Azores islands as it was being towed to land, Portuguese Navy officials said.

“We had one for a customer who ordered an ID.4, which is an electric vehicle, and another for someone who ordered a GTI,” Gengras said Wednesday.

The 650-foot-long vessel is capable of carrying 4,000 cars, National Public Radio reported. It is not known how many vehicles were on board the shipbut Gengras said, based on his conversations with other new car dealerships, up to 10 vehicles heading to dealerships in Connecticut may have sunk with the vessel.

“A dealer I spoke to in Denver lost 10 cars,” he said.

Gengras said it would take Volkswagen two or three months to build its customers’ new cars.

“They will try to speed up the process as much as possible,” he said.

Customers will pay the same amount they agreed to when they ordered the car from the manufacturer, although they will get a newer model year. Customers will receive additional credit for amenities associated with new cars to offset the wait, according to Gengras.

The Felicity Ace sank in an area of ​​the Atlantic nearly 2 miles deep. The ship carried Porsches, Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Volkswagens, according to Gengras.

Volkswagen officials said The Wall Street Journal that insurance covered the loss of his vehicles, which could be at least $155 million. The Journal reports that the estimated total loss for the entire shipment is close to $440 million.

The Associated Press reported that the Portuguese Navy rescued all 22 crew from the ship, which was heading for Davisville, RI. None of the crew members were injured, according to the AP.

The Portuguese Navy confirmed the sinking, saying it happened outside Portuguese waters. A Portuguese Air Force helicopter evacuated crew members when the fire first broke out, setting the ship adrift.

Ocean tugs equipped with firefighting equipment had hosed down the ship’s hull to cool it.

European automakers declined to discuss the number of vehicles and models on board, but Porsche customers in the United States have been contacted by their dealers, the company said.

“We are already working to replace each car affected by this incident and the first new cars will be built soon,” Angus Fitton, vice president of public relations at Porsche Cars North America Inc., told The Associated Press in an email. mail.

The ship was carrying both electric and non-electric vehicles, according to Portuguese authorities. Suspicion over what started the fire on February 16 has fallen on lithium batteries used in electric vehicles, although authorities say they have no solid proof of the cause.

Authorities feared the ship was polluting the ocean. The ship was carrying 2,200 tons of fuel and 2,200 tons of oil. It can carry more than 18,700 tons of cargo.

The Portuguese Navy said in a statement that only a few pieces of wreckage and a small oil stain were visible where the ship sank. Tugboats were breaking up the patch with pipes, he said.

A Portuguese Air Force plane and a Portuguese Navy vessel are to remain on the scene on the lookout for signs of pollution.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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