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Inspection in Eemshaven: The »Fremantle Highway« is just a wreck


IMAGO/Vincent Jannink / IMAGO/ANP

After the devastating fire on the car cargo ship off the Dutch coast, Berger have now inspected the ship. The top four decks of the "Fremantle Highway" were so badly damaged that they could hardly be entered, said the head of the salvage company Boskalis, Peter Berdowski, according to media reports on Friday. Therefore, it is difficult to recover the cargo.

About 2700 of the total of about 3800 cars on board are destroyed, according to the experts, and can probably not be recovered. "Some of the decks are totally fused with the cars," Berdowski said in Eemshaven in the northeast of the country near the German border. Soon, the oil will be pumped out of the ship. "This means that the risk of an environmental catastrophe is significantly lower," said the Boskis boss.

The Japanese freighter had been towed to Eemshaven just over a week ago after the fire had raged for days. The cause of the fire has still not been determined, but the investigation is ongoing. According to initial information from the coast guard immediately after the outbreak of the fire, an electric car could possibly have been the starting point of the fire. An oil spill threatened the North Sea, the islands and the natural areas of the Wadden Sea. One person had died during the evacuation of the ship.

1000 cars probably in good condition

During the inspection, it became clear that the lower four of the twelve decks are largely undamaged. About 1000,500 cars, including <> electric ones, are also in good condition at first glance, Berdowski said. But it is still unclear how they can be recovered.

Experts from car manufacturers, including Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes, are now to investigate how the vehicles can be transported. The electric cars have a charged battery, Berdowski said. "That can be very dangerous." You don't want the cars to ignite again as a result of the transport, "and all misery starts all over again."