First photos of the destroyed cars aboard the Fremantle Highway car carrier have been leaked to the public by a Dutch media outlet with the salvage firm none too happy about it.
One of the images shows destroyed Porsche 911s and Porsche Cayennes while another that can be seen around the internet shows 5-door Mini Clubmans burned beyond recognition.
Boskalis, the owner of Smit Salvage – the company in charge of salvage operations for the car carrier, was not at all pleased with the images being leaked to Dutch media outlet RTL Nieuws.
“We don’t know how these photos ended up with RTL Nieuws. They did not come from us and we are looking into who made them,” a Boskalis spokesperson told Dutch media on Monday.
The Boskalis-owned Smit Salvage, along with Multraship Towage, was in charge of towing the fire-stricken vessel to Eemshaven.
“The photos circulating the internet and are now being published by the media, including images of the inside of the Fremantle Highway, were not taken by recovery companies Smit Salvage or Multraship Towage. Based on what we know, these photos were taken by a party appointed by the shipowner and the insurance parties,” Boskalis added. The vessel is owned by Shoei Kisen and chartered by K-Line.
But, a further search revealed that the first appearance of images from within the ship was on Sunday on the X platform, formerly Twitter, a day before any media published them. They appeared as a post by Andreas Mrosek, a former MP for the Alternatie für Deutschland in the Bundestag. How he got them is unknown.
After the ship caught fire on July 25, salvage companies were put in charge to assess the damage, taking it to port when possible, and ultimately salvage what was left onboard.
The vessel had 21 crewmen at the time of the incident – all Indian nationals, one of whom died. Also onboard were the pilot and a superintendent. All of them were rescued by boat and helicopter.
The car carrier was towed to Eemshaven port on August 4, nine days after catching fire. The operation was started after the fire subsided and when no smoke was visible.
Several days after the vessel arrived in port, reports claimed that up to 800 cars were still intact. All of these were located on decks one through four and remained relatively untouched due to deck five being empty. The ship was loaded with 3,784 cars, 498 of them electric – all of them new and included cars from brands like Porsche, Mini, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes, and Volkswagen.
No final plan is yet in place for the burnt cars on the ship as many of them are fused. Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, said they don’t want the cars to catch fire again during salvage and let the “misery start all over again.”