Almost 4000 brand-new cars are about to sink off the Dutch coast

A cargo ship carrying 3,783 brand-new cars is still in flames near the Wadden Islands. Now, it’s looking quite possible that both the ship and the cars will soon become coral for the fish. 

The 200-metre-long Panamanian ship, known as Fremantle Highway, has been on fire off the Dutch coast since late Tuesday night.

This morning, the ship is still in flames, and while the fire is easing, it doesn’t look like it will be extinguished soon.

Most of the crew has safely made it off the boat after having to jump ship Tuesday night. Unfortunately, one crew member has died, reports AD.

Highly-flammable cars on fire

On the ship are 3,783 cars, almost 500 of them being electric. Think about it like this — one parking garage holds 450 cars on average. So, the blazing ship holds the equivalent of more than eight full garages.

To make matters worse, these garages are acting like flammable kegs. Electric cars and flames are not a good mix. 

The batteries that make the cars run can burn for days. Their clever design means that they are built in such a way that no water can reach them. Makes sense for an electric car, right? But not when they catch fire…

The result? Much more water is needed to extinguish the fire. 

The possibility of the ship sinking

This leads to another problem. The more water used to extinguish the fire, the more likely it is that the boat will sink and end up at the bottom of the ocean — bringing all those new cars down with it.

While the fire on the Fremantle Highway has slightly lessened, it’s still too dangerous to send people on board to extinguish the fire in a more targeted way. 

The biggest worry about the ship sinking is actually not so much about the car cemetery that will end up on the seabed, however. In fact, what is more worrying, is that oil could leak from the vessel right into the ocean. 

Translation: The situation with the Fremantle Highway is stable, but towing or recovery can only take place once the fire has been extinguished. That may take a longer period of time. We remain alert with @Kustwacht_nl and other partners and keep you informed

Luckily, the Dutch authorities are ready, and an oil-collecting vessel is already on standby. 

The ship, which is attached to a small tugboat by an emergency cable to try and keep it in place, is now 16 kilometres north of Terscheling. 

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Feature Image:Depositphotos
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi came to the Netherlands four years ago for her studies with two suitcases and without ever having been to the country or knowing much about it. Now, you can find her eating ‘bitterballen’ and fighting against the Dutch wind on her bike every day like a local. Naomi enjoys writing about what is going on around her alongside a warm cup of coffee.


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