The toll from the fire that broke out Feb. 16 aboard the Felicity Ace cargo ship may end up being even higher than early estimates of $355 million, given the breakdown of Volkswagen Group vehicles believed to be on board, according to dealer and company sources.
After delays caused by bad weather and lingering effects of the fire, a salvage team boarded the vessel on Friday, Feb. 25, and started to tow it to a safe location from where it had been adrift, about 100 miles southwest of the Azores islands. Ship manager Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said the Felicity Ace remained stable, and the smoke that for days billowed from the vessel had stopped.
"We fear that the fire on the ship has damaged a large number of the nearly 4,000 Group-brand vehicles to such an extent that they can no longer be delivered to customers. More detailed information is not yet available," Volkswagen Group of America said in a statement emailed Friday to Automotive News. "Brands and dealers have already begun informing their customers and finding individual solutions."