The recent incident involving a fire at a ship carrying luxury vehicles bound for the U.S. could result in $155 million in losses, according to insurance experts.
The losses would likely fall on continental European insurance markets, specialist publication Insurance Insider reported, citing anonymous sources, with Volkswagen's in-house insurance covering some of the cost.
Data and analytics company Russell Group estimated the loss at around $155 million, which Insurance Insider said chimed with estimates by sources within the London market of around $140 million.
A cargo ship carrying around 4,000 vehicles, including luxury cars belonging to the German Volkswagen Group, caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean, the Portuguese Navy said.
The 22 crew members had abandoned the almost 200-meter-long Felicity Ace and were brought to safety, a spokesperson told German Press Agency (DPA) last Friday.
Around 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys were on board, spokespeople for the car brands owned by Volkswagen said. Audi, another Volkswagen brand, confirmed some of its vehicles were also on the ship but did not state how many.
Volkswagen did not confirm the total number of cars on board and said it was awaiting further information.
YouTuber Matt Farah, whose automotive review channel "The Smoking Tire" has more than a million followers, said on Twitter he was contacted by a car dealer who said the Porsche he ordered was aboard the ship.
"My car is now adrift, possibly on fire, in the middle of the ocean," Farah tweeted.
The ship's situation remained stable and there was currently no danger of fuel catching fire or leaking from the ship into the sea, the spokesperson added.
Lithium-ion batteries in the electric cars onboard the vehicle carrier Felicity Ace have caught fire.
The Panama-flagged ship, owned by Snowscape Car Carriers SA and managed by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd, was traveling from Emden, Germany - where Volkswagen has a factory - to Davisville in the United States, based on the Maritime Traffic website.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd and Smit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Videos online showed white smoke billowing out of the huge ship.
The patrol boat Setúbal from the Portuguese Navy was at the ship, which was drifting in the sea about 170 kilometers southwest of the Azores island of Faial.
Experts from a Dutch salvage company were expected on Friday to examine the possibility of towing the ship to a port, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported.