Monday, October 2, 2023
News Cargo Ship Fire Involving Vehicles Causes Casualty off Dutch Coast

Cargo Ship Fire Involving Vehicles Causes Casualty off Dutch Coast

A cargo ship fire near the Netherlands coast results in a tragic loss of life and damage to thousands of vehicles, including EVs.


  • Cargo ship fire off Dutch coast leads to the death of a crew member and injuries to others.

  • The ship was carrying 2,857 cars, including 25 electric vehicles, with a significant number being Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

  • Salvage experts are working to address the situation as the ship faces the risk of sinking due to the extensive fire damage.


A devastating fire broke out on a cargo ship near the coast of the Netherlands, leading to the loss of a crew member’s life and causing injuries to several others. The ship was transporting a total of 2,857 cars, among them 25 electric vehicles. According to Reuters, the incident is believed to have started with one of the electric vehicles catching fire, which quickly spread and engulfed the Panama-registered vessel known as the Fremantle Highway.

Photo : Hollandse Hoogte

The cargo ship was en route from Germany to Egypt and was carrying approximately 350 vehicles manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. The automaker confirmed the number of vehicles on board and stated that they are in constant communication with the transport provider to assess the situation.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC | Photo: Olivier Delorme

As the fire rapidly spread, seven crew members had to resort to jumping overboard to escape the flames. The Royal Dutch Rescue Company (KNRM) was among the first responders at the scene and performed a helicopter airlift to rescue the remaining crew members. Tragically, one crew member lost their life in the blaze, while some others sustained injuries during the evacuation process.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC | Photo:Matt St-Pierre

The injured crew members were promptly treated for breathing problems, burns, and broken bones by local Dutch authorities. The Fremantle Highway was towed away from busy shipping lanes to prevent potential collisions with other vessels. However, the extent of the damage caused by the fire has raised concerns that the vessel might sink.

2023 Mercedes-EQ EQE 4Matic
2023 Mercedes-EQ EQE 4Matic

Shoei Kisen, the Japanese ship leasing company responsible for managing the Fremantle, is working closely with Dutch authorities to combat the fire and address the situation. Salvage experts are assessing the damage to determine the best course of action for the vessel.

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The incident adds to a growing list of fires that have occurred on cargo ships carrying vehicles. Earlier this month, there was a similar fire incident on a cargo ship carrying hundreds of vehicles in New Jersey, resulting in fatalities and injuries. Additionally, in March 2022, thousands of luxury cars were destroyed by a fire on the Felicity Ace, leading to the sinking of the ship off Portugal’s Azores islands.

Photo : AP

This unfortunate event underscores the challenges and risks faced by the maritime industry in transporting large quantities of vehicles, including electric vehicles with advanced battery systems. Investigations into the cause of the fire will be crucial in improving safety and security measures for car transportation at sea, especially as the demand for global shipping continues to grow.

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