Good weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay on March 21st permitted the continuation of anti-pollution operations in the vicinity of the spot where ConRo Grande America (IMO 9130937) caught fire on March 10th and soon after sank. A surface iridescence of heavy fuel oil was still visible, with Spanish tugs Alonso de Chaves and Maria de Maetzu, plus the VN Partisan and others assisting with the operation.
Barge TSM Dora has been chartered by shipowner Grimaldi. She sailed from Brest and arrived in the area to support the operation.
Surveillance flights were carried out by SASEMAR, local charter air company Finist’Air and a Falcon 50 of the French Navy. Union Lynx and Miniplon support vessel, chartered by the shipowner, recovered three containers with food at sea, including one in very poor condition. The convoys reached the port of La Rochelle in the evening.
Grimaldi was chartering a specialized vessel equipped with a submarine underwater exploration vehicle to inspect the wreck of the Grande America. The vessel’s arrival was expected for March 25th.
Given the meteorological conditions, any arrival of heavy fuel at the French coast was not expected for at least 10 days. Weather conditions on zone were ENE winds of 12 knots and a swell of about two meters.
The “dangerous” cargo being carried by the vessel before she sank consisted of 85 tonnes of sodium hydrogen sulphide (used in the leather industry), 16 tonnes of white spirit, 720 tons of hydrochloric acid and 25 tonnes of fungicide.
Among the non-hazardous goods there were 2,100 vehicles, including 190 trucks and 22 buses. In addition to the 2,200 tons of heavy fuel the tanks contained 190 tons of diesel and 70 tons of oil.
1997-built, Italy-flagged, 56,642 gt Grande America is owned and managed by Grimaldi Group of Naples, Italy. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Grimaldi Deep Sea SpA.
Hull & machinery is with Norwegian Hull Club (as arranger) and other insurers, among them Siat and Generali.