Fire on Cargo Ship Carrying 3000 Cars in North Sea Leaves One Dead

freemantle highway cargo ship fire in the netherlands
One Dead in Cargo Ship Fire With 3000 Cars OnboardKustwacht NL

A cargo ship carrying thousands of vehicles is currently ablaze just off the coast of the Netherlands. One crew member has died as a result of the accident, while several others have been injured trying to escape the flames. The Coast Guard is struggling to put out the fire, which they believe originated from an electric vehicle onboard.

According to Dutch officials, the Panamanian-registered Fremantle Highway was en route from Germany to Egypt carrying some 2857 vehicles when the fire started in the North Sea around 16 miles off the coast of Ameland. Of the thousands of vehicles onboard the ship, 25 of them are electric vehicles. The Coast Guard believes that it is likely that the fire started with one of the EVs. Fires originating from electric vehicles are tremendously difficult to extinguish, often reigniting despite firefighters’ best efforts. The crew initially tried to contain the fire themselves, but they were unable to limit its spread. Dutch firefighters on the scene have been unable to control the fire thus far.

One of the crew members onboard the Fremantle Highway was killed in the accident, while seven others were forced to jump from the ship to escape the fire. The sailors were recovered from the water by boat, while a rescue helicopter retrieved the remaining sailors onboard. A total of 23 people were rescued from the ship. Automotive News reports that several crew members are being treated for breathing problems, broken bones, and burns.

Salvage companies are actively working alongside Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch infrastructure department, to try and limit damage to the ship and the local environment more broadly. Tug boats currently on the scene are serving to prevent the ship from moving. Several additional tug boats are also en route to try and tow the ship once a safer connection is established.


According to Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz has around 350 vehicles on the Fremantle Highway at this time. At this time, it's unclear what the other vehicles onboard are.

You can continue to receive live updates on the situation from the Kustwacht live blog linked here.

This situation is all too reminiscent of the Felicity Ace disaster that took place back in February 2022. That ship was carrying around 4000 VW Group vehicles when it caught fire, including several Porsche, Lamborghini, and Audi products. While the cause of the Felicity Ace incident remains unclear to this day, it was suspected that an EV fire was also responsible for that sinking.

freemantle highway cargo ship fire with firefighters on scene
Kustwacht NL

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