A shipping expert says there have been about 70 fires reported in the last five years on container ships, separate from vehicle vessels such as Felicity Ace.
The recent fire aboard and sinking of the Felicity Ace car carrier brings up a very interesting question: As the world quickly switches to electric cars, how are we going to get them from factories to showrooms, especially when they have to cross oceans?
The cause of the Felicity Ace fire could have just been a cleaning rag that fell onto a hot grill in the galley. It could have been a lit cigarette accidentally dropped in the engine room. Or, and this is the scariest possibility, it could have been caused by a runaway thermal event in an electric car somewhere in the darkest confines of a parking area below deck.
That’s a lot of ifs. The answers are lying 10,000 feet down in the North Atlantic, 200 miles off the Azores. Interviews with the crew of the Felicity Ace, all of whom were rescued, might provide answers, but that could take a number of years. And retrieval of the vessel, even just sending a deep-sea robot down to look around, might be cost-prohibitive.