PCTC Fremantle Highway On Fire

So another car carrier caught fire, reportedly starting in a stowed EV:

Is it just me, or does this keep happening with ever increasing frequency? Has someone plotted a graph of PCTC fires over time? If my hunch is correct, this will necessarily drive a change in how vehicles are transported by sea. Surely there must be some sort of limit to how far the insurance companies are willing to stay on this ride…

I’m no expert, but I guess such changes would have to involve smaller cargoes, smaller fire cells, fire boundary construction, fire suppression strategies (cell flooding?), or all of the above. Thoughts?


The commitment to going carbon neutral is causing people to turn a blind eye to safety.

Ships are carrying electric cars when they have no way of extinguishing a lithium fire.

Only a matter of time before there is an electric vehicle fire on a ferry packed full of people and there is no way of extinguishing the fire. Then there will be far more severe consequences.


This thread went to a dark place fast. Whew.


The marine industry is very reactive and not proactive when it comes to safety. Incidents have to happen before proper safety measures are taken.

We are starting to see more and more fires caused by EVs that can’t be put out by ship’s crew but no proper measures are being implemented to combat the risks.

Some ferry operators say their response to an EV fire would be to lower the ramp and push the car into the sea. If the EV is parked in the middle of lots of cars that would not be possible, also if it was bad weather they wouldn’t be able to lower the ramp. Also how would they release the handbrake on the car if it was fully ablaze.

EVs should probably be banned from ferries until they have an effective means of extinguishing a lithium fire. But that won’t happen because of the net zero commitment.


The history of shipping is you have to kill lots to get any change, one or two is just business.


And neither of those one or two ever come from the office.


Insurance is usually the driver, lets see?
It forced changes to freight aircraft carrying bulk batteries after a few deaths and aircraft losses.

A number of coastal ferry lines have banned them

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Photos: Flying Focus Aerial Photography www.flyingfocus.nl ©

The destination of the Fremantle Highway is widely given as Port Said, Egypt, but do we know if that was the destination of the cargo?

It is also widly speculated that the fire MAY have started in an electric car, but does anybody actually KNOW that?

Source: https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/360711/fremantle-highway-fire-ship-carrying-3000-cars-burns-dutch-coast

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Regarding destination : Port Said was an input by the shipboard AIS user , what is quite common practice. Traveling to West Coast USA via Panama Canal one would input Cristobal, Panama (PACTB) into AIS unit. So was in this case .
and all sort of scriblers take it as final destination.

Final destination was Japan via Spore .

For a time being one can read speculations only written by crazy sribblers creating hype

Have just found their port schedule promulgated by K-line roro division
4-1_europe-south_africa_and_asia.pdf (klineglobalroro.com)

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We don’t know how the fire started and I’m sure the the investigation will consist of searching questions of the crew as soon as they become available.
What we do know is that once the fire took hold the presence of Lithium Iron batteries would accelerate the intensity of the fire.

Some statistics, from the magazine link below:

Using data from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and government recall information, AutoinsuranceEZ indicated fires by vehicle type:

  • Hybrids reflected the most at 3,475 fires per 100,000 vehicles. This is most likely because hybrids utilize two powertrains.
  • ICE vehicles caught fire substantially less often, at 1,530 incidents per 100,000 vehicles.
  • EV fires were significantly lower than the others, with 25 fires per 100,000 vehicles. So of the approximately two million EVs on U.S. roads, less than two out of a 1,000 will catch fire.

Are Electric Vehicles More Likely To Catch on Fire?.

(FYI: The magazine is like Popular Mechanics. One of the reasons I subscribe to it is they have no discernible political bent).


Tipping over, and catching fire are the two big dangers of ROROs. It looks like this one possibly may suffer the sad fate of both catastrophes.

Crap food is the biggest danger, the rest of it is just an annoyance.


Interesting data. The statement that only five percent of vehicle fires start in a crash stands in stark contrast to my preconceived notions.

The discrepancy between hybrid and EV fires is extremely counter intuitive to me. The principal difference between ICE and ICE / battery hybrid vehicles is the presence of a high power, high energy electrical system. The data seems to suggest that this system poses a significant fire hazard, but only in the presence of an internal combustion powerplant, which doesn’t make much sense.

My first thought was that it might have something to do with the vehicle duty cycle, since EV’s are typically bought as a second car and see less intensive use on more developed roads that ICE vehicles. However, the article demonstrates a shocking lack of subject matter expertise, which leads me to suspect that there is something fishy about the data. The second paragraph contains this little gem:

Gas-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles use a 12-volt lead acid battery to start the car. The electrolyte, a mixture of sulfuric acid and distilled water, that creates electricity in a lead acid battery rarely ignites under normal driving conditions.

In fact the electrolyte is entirely incapable of sustaining combustion under any reasonable circumstances (if you have FOOF or chlorine trifluoride laying around then you have greater problems than your battery acid catching fire), and the oxidation of water into hydrogen peroxide is even an endothermic process. Still, lead-acid batteries pose a fire hazard if over charged, due to the formation of hydrogen and oxygen, which has led to a number of boat fires and injuries to technicians. This is the sort of thing you should know if you want to write an article about vehicle fires.

That’s immediately followed by this:

Extremely combustible fluids (engine oil or transmission, power steering and brake fluid) are why an ICE vehicle could burst into flames.

All of those will burn, if either misted or heated far beyond their normal operating temperatures. That’s not what is meant by “extremely combustible”. This sort of drivel is usually a strong indicator of non-contextual data and incorrect conclusions, so I had a dig through the references. Maybe for example the statistics were compiled without correcting for vehicle age, mileage or operating enviornment?

Indeed, the referenced AutoinsuranceEZ article has this little tidbit:

In older vehicles, the wiring and batteries start to break down, putting them more at risk of catching fire in an accident. Since most electric vehicles aren’t yet at the advanced age of older gas vehicles, there currently isn’t any data showing if they will be at a higher risk of battery and electric explosions as they age.

Yeah, if the statistic is based on annual sales figures and fire incidence alone, it is worse than worthless, transcending incompetence into outright dishonesty. Why would they present those conclusions, with cute little graphs and all, before quietly pointing out that there is no data to support the claims with a disclaimer that is itself grossly misleading? I suspect that they were driven by the lust for sensational conclusions, so that they could be quoted by idiot journalists in DIY publications, but I will be very entertained if our resident conspiracy theorist cooks up a spicier theory…

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: For RORO fire hazard analysis we want data on how often vehicles spontaneously catch fire when turned off, and for PCTC fires in particular it would be useful to know how often this happens with brand new vehicles. I suspect that EV batteries pose a significant hazard in this regard, due to the presence of large amounts of stored energy in an intricate matrix subject to manufacturing flaws.

I can think of better things to do with my last precious days of summer than spreadsheeting insurance data, but it would surprise me if there isn’t some rigorous and scientifically sound work in the field already.

Oh, and that claim that only five percent of vehicle fires start in an accident? That’s just bullshit, directly contradicted by the linked sources. I wonder where Mr. Handyman came up with that one?

P.S: @KPChief don’t you know that Moloch compels us to regress all the way to the local minimum?


We need to establish a baseline to draw any meaningful conclusions.
We had a 1904 Mercedes go up on it’s own, anybody got anything older?

Oh man that’s a tragedy :cry:

Not only is it disingenuous to compare a new tesla to grandpa’s Corvair, but dividing annual fires into annual sales doesn’t even consider the number of cars on the road, much less mileage. For someone even remotely related to the insurance industry to unwittingly make such a statistical blunder is literally unbelievable, hence my accusations of dishonesty.

Looking around I did find this, which corroborates the conclusion that EVs are far less fire prone in use than cars in general (by one rather than two orders of magnitude):

However, the data is such that direct comparisons shouldn’t be made, and in any case it has limited bearing on RORO fires. As I wrote, we need data on how often cars spontaneously catch fire when parked with the engine off, and I suspect that this condition influences ICE cars more than battery EVs because the fuel is not pressurized in significant quantities, as well as the engine being cold.

The power of an EV is that it can sink a ship with 3000 other vessels that were asked to support the fire but didnt start it

Tesla EV’s have been burning to the ground on California highways for years. even after the fire is put out ,the vehicles have been known to reignite by themselves after they have been towed away. it would be right to ban them from large passenger ferries such as those in Wahington state or at the least load them last close to the ramp, but you would need some way of pushing them overboard. doubt they will re design car carries any time in the near future to provide safety to the ships and crews
nothing will be done i am sure. if the ship owners had any back bone they would refuse to carry them but often the ship owner and the auto maker are one in the same
i am afraid more people will die before this issue is address. its something that the USCG should be working on BUT they are busy investigating marginal shit box submarines.