More electric cars than first thought on board burning Fremantle Highway
Efforts to cool the burning car carrier have now stopped to prevent the ship from capsizing. Dutch broadcaster RTL has released a recording between the emergency services in which one first responder says: ‘The fire started in the battery of an electric car’
Fremantle Highway, currently ablaze off the Dutch coast, was carrying 500 new electric vehicles — significantly more than the 25 originally reported by the coastguard. A spokesperson for the coastguard initially confirmed that rescued crew had reported the fire was first detected near the electric vehicles
FREMANTLE Highway, the Panama-flagged car carrier currently burning off the Dutch coast, is carrying nearly 500 electric vehicles — this is significantly more than the initial reports, which suggested only 25 battery powered vehicles were on board.
The updated figures released on Friday by the vessel’s charterer K Line confirmed that there were 3,783 new vehicles on board, including 498 electric battery vehicles. There were no secondhand vehicles on board.
The Dutch coastguard has reiterated that the cause of the fire remains unknown. However, a spokesperson for the coastguard initially confirmed that rescued crew had reported the fire was first detected near the electric vehicles.
Dutch broadcaster RTL released a recording of VHF traffic between the emergency services in which a first responder says: “The fire started in the battery of an electric car.”
The Dutch coastguard, though, has warned that: “These are operational conversations. The elaboration and interpretation of this gives an incorrect representation in some reports.”
An investigation has been launched by the Panama Maritime Authority and the Netherlands is assisting with enquiries, the Dutch Safety Board has said.
Fremantle Highway (IMO: 9667344), which is still burning, is drifting about 17 km from the northernmost Dutch coast, the coastguard said on Friday.
Firefighters had previously been attempting to cool the ship with water. However, that operation has stopped to prevent excess water from entering the ship and undermining its stability.
An oil control vessel, Arca (IMO: 9167966), has now been deployed near the burning ship in case an oil leak occurs.