This happened 13 days after an fire onboard. According to the Wall Street Journal , the Felicity Ace carried Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Porsches.
Volkswagen, which stated last week that the damage to the vehicles had been covered by its insurance, confirmed that the ship was sinking. According to Reuters, insurance experts suggested that the incident could lead to losses of $155 millions.
MOL Ship Management in Singapore stated that the Felicity Ace was sunk approximately 250 miles offshore Portugal's Azores islands as it was being tow. The fire was put out by a salvage team.
According to the ship's management, the 200-meter-long vessel was seen listing to starboard and then going under.
Joao Mendes Cabecas was the captain of Faial's nearest port. He said that the ship sank when attempts to pull it out began because of structural problems due to the fire and rough seas.
He told Reuters that water began to enter the ship when towing started. "The ship lost stability and sank."
According to the Portuguese navy, the sinking occurred at an approximate depth of 30,000 feet outside Portuguese waters. The ship was set adrift by the Portuguese Air Force helicopter, which evacuated 22 crew members.
To cool the ship's hull, ocean-going tugboats equipped with firefighting equipment were used to hose it down.
Although it was not clear how many cars were aboard the ship, vessels of the Felicity Ace can hold at least 4,000 cars.
European carmakers were unable to disclose the number of vehicles and models onboard, but Porsche dealers in the United States were contacting customers, the company stated.
"We are already working on replacing every car that was damaged by this incident, and the first new cars won't be built for a while," Angus Fitton, Vice President of PR at Porsche Cars North America, Inc., stated to The Associated Press via email.
According to Portuguese authorities, the ship was transporting both electric and non-electric cars. Authorities believe that the fire started on February 16th with the use of lithium batteries in electric vehicles. However, they don't have any concrete evidence.
Authorities were concerned that the ship might pollute the ocean. The ship carried 2,000 metric tonnes of fuel and 2,000 tons of oil. It can transport more than 17,000 tons of cargo.
In a statement, the Portuguese navy stated that there were only small pieces of wreckage left and some oil patches where the ship was struck. It stated that the tugboats were removing the oil patch using hoses.
An Air Force plane from Portugal and a navy vessel from Portugal will be on the scene to monitor for signs of pollution.