Volkswagen Faces Lawsuits Over Cargo Ship Fire

A fire on board the Felicity Ace in 2022 was allegedly caused by a battery in an electric Porsche, which is owned by Volkswagen AG.

The Felicity Ace eventually sunk after the fire was extinguished.

Volkswagen AG is facing two lawsuits in Germany following allegations that a battery in one of its Porsche EVs was the catalyst for a devastating fire aboard a cargo ship in 2022 that led to the ship sinking, resulting in the loss of thousands of vehicles, Bloomberg reported.

One lawsuit has been filed in Stuttgart, where Volkswagen's Porsche unit is headquartered. The suit includes plaintiffs such as Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd., the ship's operator, and Allianz SE, an insurer of the vessel. These parties allege Volkswagen failed to disclose the risks associated with transporting electric vehicles, particularly the dangers posed by lithium-ion batteries.

In addition to the Stuttgart case, another ongoing lawsuit is in Braunschweig, connected to the same incident. This case has prompted mediation talks set to occur later in March. If these talks do not lead to a settlement, both lawsuits will proceed in court.

Both lawsuits stem from a fire aboard the Panama-flagged Felicity Ace, which occurred near the Azores archipelago. The vessel, carrying 3,965 vehicles, was left adrift after its crew was rescued, leading to significant financial losses for Volkswagen, estimated at a minimum of $155 million.

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