First Inspection Fremantle Highway Electric cars in good condition after fire on car freighter

First Inspection Fremantle Highway Electric cars in good condition after fire on car freighter

The cause of the fire on the car freighter Fremantle Highway has not yet been determined. However, it appears that the 500 electric cars are mostly undamaged.

After the severe fire on the car cargo ship off the Dutch coast, Berger has now inspected the ship. The top four decks of the Fremantle Highway were extensively damaged, making them nearly impassable, as stated by the boss of the salvage company Boskalis, Peter Berdowski, in media reports on Friday. Consequently, salvaging the cargo presents significant challenges.

The four lower decks of the ship remained largely undamaged despite the fire.

During the inspection, it became clear that the lower four of the twelve decks were mostly unaffected. Additionally, approximately 1,000 cars, including 500 electric ones, seem to be in good condition at first glance, according to Berdowski. However, the recovery process for these cars remains uncertain.

The Fremantle Highway fire has reignited the debate about battery fire hazards.

Most cars have been completely destroyed. Experts estimate that around 2,700 of the approximately 3,800 cars on board have been destroyed and are unlikely to be recovered. “Some of the decks are completely intertwined with the cars,” Berdowski informed reporters in Eemshaven, located in the northeast of the country on the German border. The oil on the ship will soon be pumped out, significantly reducing the risk of an environmental disaster, as noted by the Boskalis boss.

Car manufacturers’ experts, including Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes, will now investigate transportation options for the vehicles. It’s worth noting that electric cars have charged batteries, which adds a potential danger. Berdowski expressed concerns about the risk of the cars catching fire again during transportation, leading to a recurrence of the tragedy.

The Fremantle Highway can remain in port until October 14th. After that, the freighter will be towed to another location for scrapping or repair, a decision that lies with the Japanese shipowner.

The Japanese freighter was towed to Eemshaven a week ago after the fire had raged for days. The cause of the fire is still unknown, and the investigation is ongoing. Initial information from the coast guard suggested that an electric car might have been the ignition point of the fire. An oil spill posed a threat to the North Sea, the islands, and the natural areas of the Wadden Sea. Tragically, one person died during the ship’s evacuation.

The assumption that an electric car could have caused the fire has sparked a debate about fire protection on car transporters and ferries. The World Maritime Organization IMO has long been planning to tighten safety precautions for transporting lithium-ion batteries. Insurance companies have been warning about the risks of burning batteries on ships for some time. The challenge lies in the fact that ships lack effective means to combat such fires. One proposed solution is cooling the cargo with a high-pressure water mist, as extinguishing burning lithium-ion batteries is extremely challenging.