Sinking Ship with Toxic Material Threatens the French Coast

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The ship Grande America, which covered the route between Hamburg and Casablanca, sank after the start of a fire. Authorities fear that a smear of oil and other toxic materials will reach the Brittany coasts.

Representatives of the French Government remain alert to the risk of contamination after the sinking of the Italian cargo ship Grande America, belonging to the company, Grimaldi Lines, on March 12. The incident was recorded at a distance of 333 kilometers from the coast of Brittany in France.

During the day of March 14, the French authorities maintained the work to contain the oil stain found in the waters. It has a length of 10 kilometers long and one wide and experts have shown concern that it reaches the coast between 15 and 17 March.

According to Reuters, the vessel sank after registering a fire that could not be controlled. The ship covered the route between Hamburg (Germany) and Casablanca (Morocco) transporting 2,200 tons of heavy fuel when the incident occurred.

“For now the possible risk of contamination consists mainly of the 2,200 tons of heavy fuel on board,” said Jean-Louis Lozier, head of the regional maritime authority to journalists who were in Brest.

Lozier added that in the containers there were 100 tons of hydrochloric acid and 70 tons of sulfuric acid.

“Around forty containers fell into the sea before the ship sank, most of them were severely damaged by fire (…) The risk of contamination would be very focused as most would have been burned in the fire (…) Dissolution in the ocean would not have serious consequences for the environment, “said Lozier.

The French Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, and the Minister of the Environment, Francois de Rugy, have reported that they are closely following all the work being done to contain what could be an environmental disaster.

Sinking Ship with Toxic Material Threatens the French Coast

NGO threatens lawsuits for environmental damage: “It’s a car accident on the seabed”

In addition to the 45 containers with hazardous materials, the vessel was carrying around 2,000 vehicles. The main information indicates that the fire was generated on the deck where the cars were, before moving to other containers.

In this regard, the French environmental group Robin Hood has expressed the intention to initiate a lawsuit before the District Court of Brest for environmental damage that may have caused the tragedy.

“Two thousand vehicles! It’s a car accident at the bottom of the sea.” It represents hundreds of tons of toxic materials in an area rich in fish, plankton and marine animals (…) There is also fear for possible coastal pollution, “said Jacky. Bonnemains, spokesperson for the NGO.

The French news agency AFP reported that the French authorities opened an investigation and announced that the owner of the ship was warned to take “all necessary measures to contribute to the fight against pollution.”


Source: France24