On July 26, the FREMANTLE HIGHWAY caught fire off Netherlands. The Panamanian-flagged vessel with 23 Indian crew members, was transporting 2 857 cars from Germany to Egypt.
Of all the hypotheses considered, the preferred one is the combustion of an electric vehicle. It would be caused by a chemical reaction in the battery which produces gases that swell the battery.
The IMO is planning to evaluate new measures for ships carrying electric vehicles in view of the increasing number of fires on cargo ships.
The crew was evacuated. Seven crew members jumped into the sea, the others were airlifted by helicolpter. Among the crew, there is one dead. Others suffer from breathing issues, broken bones and burns. The vessel is linked to a tug, to avoid the Fremantle Highway to drift away. The fire is still raging, due to the difficulty of firefighters to act aboard.