Suffice to say, these will not be the best second-hand buys.
We take for granted how easily the modern motorcar is shipped around the world. After they leave the factory, thousands of machines are loaded onto cargo ships and silently carried around the world where they arrive at your local dealer ready to be wrapped up and delivered. But it doesn't always end so well, as was the case a few years ago when a cargo ship filled with luxury cars ran aground, and now, at the Jacksonville port in Florida, a freight vessel carrying around 2,000 vehicles has gone up in flames. The fire started on Thursday, June 4, but almost a week later, the fire was still burning and the temperatures inside have reached smoldering temperatures hot enough to start melting much of the cargo.
There's some good news, though. The 2,000 vehicles on board the Hoegh Xiamen - a Chinese vessel built in 2010 and operated by Hoegh Autoliners, the same company that owned the previously disaster-stricken Hoegh Osaka that carried numerous Range Rovers and a Rolls-Royce Wraith - are not new vehicles destined for their first owners; they're all used. More than this, the vehicles onboard were not destined for any used car lots in the United States but were being exported, meaning the American auto and insurance industries don't have to worry about the added stress of such an event.
The blaze started on the seventh deck of the ship but rapidly spread, resulting in an explosion that injured eight emergency responders. While the fire has been largely controlled after that, the intense heat inside the hull is quite literally melting cars. The outside of the hull reached around 350 degrees over the weekend, while being doused with 25,000 gallons of water, but inside temperatures are well above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The average car's unibody chassis wouldn't melt at that temperature, but the lightweight aluminum body panels used to reduce weight would liquefy at that temperature, as would plastic and rubber. Apparently, it's not worth the risk of sending firefighters into the vessel, so in the meantime, crews have been controlling the blaze while the fire burns out on its own. The good news is that as of this morning it was reported to be fully extinguished.