Perhaps with a recent fire on board a car transporter ship (the Mitsui OSK Lines owned and operated vessel sank subsequently) in mind, Hyundai Glovis said it had strengthened a customised response system on board in preparation for fires that may occur during sea transportation of completed vehicles.

Hyundai Glovis said it would place special equipment for extinguishing fires in vehicles, such as a fire cover and water mist lance, on operating car carriers.

The fire cover places a specially coated cloth on a burning vehicle to prevent oxygen inflow, extinguishing the fire and blocking heat and smoke.

The auto supplier and logistics specialist claims the fire cover is effective in preventing the fire from being transferred to the next vehicle even if the vehicles on board are densely loaded.

The water mist lance with metal frame is a fire extinguisher using pipes and nozzles which can directly spray water on areas where a fire has broken out. A tube about a metre long can be inserted into the car to spray water close to the floor.

Hyundai Glovis said it was taking various measures to prevent fires in car carriers.

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CCTV is installed on each deck of the cargo bay to enabled the condition of the loaded vehicles to be checked regularly and heat and smoke detectors are installed to detects fires in their early stages.

A crew manual for preventing accidents and responding to emergency situations has been prepared, requiring response training at least twice a year.

Hyundai Glovis uses 90 ships. Last year, it transported about 250,000 electric vehicles and claimed 45% of global electric vehicle sea freight.

It said in a statement: “We have established a system to understand the changing trend of the automobile industry and to preemptively meet the needs of shippers. We will continue to lead the global market by introducing differentiated capabilities.”

The Felcity Ace, sailing from Emden, Germany to the US east coast in February 2022, was carrying 3,965 Volkswagen Group cars, including Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley models plus some VW ID4 EVs. Cargo caught fire in the Atlantic and the crew were rescued by helicopter, leaving the ship adrift.

According to media reports, the Azorean harbour master told Reuters lithium-ion batteries in electric cars had ignited and the fire could only be extinguished with special equipment. It was not established if an EV had caused the fire.

Salvors boarded the drifting ship and extinguished the fire but the ship later capsized suddenly and sank before it could be secured and towed to a port.