A ship carrying around 4 000 vehicles, including Porsches, Audis and Bentleys, caught fire near the coast of the Azores on 18 February.
It was not clear whether the Lithium-ion batteries in the electric cars onboard the vehicle carrier Felicity Ace that caught fire first sparked the fire.
Pictures provided by the Portuguese maritime authority showed severe burns on the bow and along the 200-metre-long 200 meters (220-yard-long) side of the ship, which according to Refinitiv data was built in 2005 and can carry 17,738 tonnes of weight.
A 16-person salvage team from Smit Salvage, owned by Dutch marine engineer Boskalis, was sent to the ship to help control the flames, Boskalis said.
The Panama-flagged ship, owned by Snowscape Car Carriers SA and managed by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd (9104.T), was travelling from Emden, Germany – where Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) has a factory – to Davisville in the United States, based on the Maritime Traffic website.
The 22 crew members on board were evacuated on Wednesday, when the fire broke out, with no one hurt, Portugal’s navy said in a statement.
Around 1 100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys were on board. Audi, another Volkswagen brand, confirmed some of its vehicles were also on the ship but did not state how many.
Volkswagen did not confirm the total number of cars on board and said it was awaiting further information.