100’s more EVs than first said on burning ship

Some 500 EVs are among almost 4000 cars on a cargo ship burning out of control off the Dutch coast.

Some 500 EVs are among almost 4000 cars on a cargo ship burning out of control off the Dutch coast. Photo: AAP

A car carrier burning off the Dutch coast is carrying almost 500 electric vehicles, significantly more than the 25 initially reported, ship charter company K Line says.

The fire on the Panamanian-registered Fremantle Highway, which was carrying new cars, killed an Indian crew member and injured seven others who jumped overboard to escape the flames.

There were 3783 vehicles on board, including 498 battery electric vehicles, a Tokyo-based spokesman for K Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha), which had chartered the vessel, said.

He declined to say anything about the car brands, including whether or not it included any cars from Japanese manufacturers.

The coast guard said on its website on Thursday the cause of the fire was unknown, but an emergency responder is heard in a recording released by Dutch broadcaster RTL saying “the fire started in the battery of an electric car”.

EV lithium-ion batteries burn with twice the energy of a normal fire and maritime officials and insurers say the industry has not kept up with the risks.

An investigation has been launched by the Panama Maritime Authority and the Netherlands is assisting the inquiry, the Dutch Safety Board has said.

The 199-metre Fremantle, which is still burning, is drifting about 17 kilometres from the northernmost Dutch coast, the coast guard said.
It was on the way from Germany to Egypt.

The islands are on the northernmost tip of the Netherlands and comprise part of the Wadden Sea, a vast area of tidal flats and marshland stretching along Germany and Denmark that is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.


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