Fire Hazard: Norweigen Shipping Company First to Ban Electric Cars on Ferries

A Norwegian shipping company bans electric cars on its ferries. According to a risk analysis, such vehicles’ fire risk is too significant. An ocean liner had recently sunk because of it.

The Norwegian shipping company, Havila Kystruten, has banned electric, hybrid, and hydrogen cars from its ferries. After a risk analysis, it was concluded that the risk to the safety of the shipping fleet was too significant. If a vehicle catches fire, the fire can no longer be extinguished.

The risks for ships from the transport of Electric cars (EV) have been discussed since the “Felicity Ace” sank off the Azores, Portugal, last February. E-vehicles on board had caught fire. The fire could not be extinguished. Finally, the colossal ship sank with thousands of electric cars, including Porsche and Bentley “green” vehicles.

Capt. Rahul Khanna, global head of marine consulting at Allianz (AGCS), a marine insurance specialist, explains that the problem with EVs is that lithium-ion batteries in the cars can actually propagate the fire, igniting more vigorously as compared to conventional cars. A single vehicle fire could prove catastrophic.

E-cars are a danger for ship passengers

According to a report by the TradeWinds shipping news service, Havila’s Chief executive Bent Martini said the risk analysis showed that the fire in an electric car required a particularly complex rescue operation. The crew on board could not afford this. Passengers would also be at risk. This is different for vehicles with combustion engines. A possible fire is usually easy to fight by the ship’s crew.

After the sinking of the “Felicity Ace,” Greenpeace also warned against e-cars on ships: “In general, electronic components and especially electric vehicles pose a risk for every transport.”

Havila travels the so-called mail ship route along the coast of northern Norway. The tours are essential for Scandinavian passenger and cargo traffic and are also very popular with vacationers.

Amy Mek

Investigative Journalist



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