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EV demand risks increase in vessel fires, report says

The growing demand for electric vehicles risks causing a wave of fires on vessels, according to a new report from insurance firm Allianz.

Its industrial arm, Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, has said that lithium batteries are an emerging risk for both container ships and car carriers, which are transporting a rising numbers of EVs.

It warned that older ships fitted with fire containment systems are not designed to cope with chemical fires, and can result in the crew abandoning ship. These fires are causing “disproportionately high losses” in the insurance industry, according to the report.

Justus Heinrich, global product leader marine hull at Alliance said: “A number of recurring themes have emerged in major incidents in recent years, many of which are a consequence of the increased size of vessels.

“As vessels have grown larger, values at risk have increased, while the environmental bar has been raised. However, regulation, safety management systems and salvage capabilities appear to have not always kept pace.”

The report comes just a few months after around 4,000 Volkswagen Group brand cars, valued over $401 million, were on board the Felicity Ace transport ship that caught fire and sank into the Atlantic Ocean.

The ship was full of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars, some of which were electric and powered by lithium-ion batteries and had ignited. It is unknown however whether this fire was caused by the EVs onboard.