Ship Fire Carrying New Cars Unlikely Caused by EV, Says Salvage Boss
A large fire that broke out on the Fremantle Highway, a ship carrying 3,784 new cars off the coast of the Netherlands last month, was unlikely caused by an electric vehicle (EV), according to the boss of the salvage company handling the wreck. The Panama-flagged car and truck carrier, chartered by K Line, was en route to Singapore from Germany when the fire occurred on July 25.
Speculation initially pointed to one of the 498 EVs on board as the cause of the fire, but the chief of salvage company Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, Peter Berdowski, stated that between 900 and 1000 cars, including the EVs, seemed to be in good condition. The fire is believed to have started on the eighth deck of the ship.
The cause of the fire is still unknown, and the salvage operation was managed by Boskalis-owned Smit Salvage and Multraship. This incident is not the first time a ship fire has been attributed to EVs. In 2022, the Felicity Ace caught fire, and the cause of the subsequent blaze remains undetermined.
While EV fires have raised concerns, data indicates that they are less likely to occur than fires in internal combustion cars. According to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), EVs are 20 times less likely to catch fire than petrol and diesel cars, with a rate of 0.004 per cent of EVs experiencing fires compared to 0.08 per cent of fossil fuel cars.
Despite the challenges of extinguishing EV fires due to the battery’s contained energy, they are relatively rare occurrences. The transportation of EVs introduces different risks, but research suggests that they are not heightened or more dangerous compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.
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