A day after it caught fire off France, the Grimaldi Group-controlled conro vessel Grande America has sunk in the Bay of Biscay.
The Naples-based company specified in a statement that the fire was “caused by some cargo loaded onboard the vessel and the firefighting operation by the crew had to be discontinued when the ship had to be abandoned in order to avoid any risk for the crew’s safety”.
There was no loss of life or injury among the 26 crew and one passenger who had left the vessel in the early hours of March 11, picked up by the Royal Navy’s HMS Argyll and taken to Brest.
The P&I Club of the ship is the North of England while the hull & machinery is insured by Norwegian Hull Club (as arranger) and other insurers, among them Siat and Generali.
The fire extinguishing operations, coordinated by the French authorities, started yesterday morning with the tug Abeille Bourbon. Grimaldi had also engaged savour Ardent.
“Despite the best efforts, last night the French authorities decided to suspend the fire fighting operations, as the vessel had begun to sustain quite a considerable list,” Grimaldi said. “Unfortunately with the weather worsening and the vessel’s list getting more considerable, the Grande America sank today (March 12th) at 15:26 hours local time, at about 140 nautical miles south west from Brest and a depth of 4,600 metres” .
The Grimaldi Group is now arranging, under the guidelines of the French authorities, the prevention of any potential damage to the marine environment resulting from the vessel’s sinking.