The Italian master and two officers who were on the vehicle carrier Grande Europa (IMO 9138381), which suffered a fire in May, have appeared in court in Valencia, Spain under suspicion of arson. The vessel caught fire about 25nm off Mallorca, Spain on May 15th while en route from Salerno, Italy to Valencia, Spain.
Maritime trade union Nautilus International said that all three officers strongly denied the accusation of causing two fires on the ship.
Bail was set at €9,000 for the master and €5,000 each for the other two officers.
Grimaldi Group earlier said the major blaze on the ship was likely to have been caused by batteries in two new cars onboard, fuelling concerns over the risks posed by cargoes of hybrid and electric vehicles. It said that preliminary investigations “suggest that the two fires started from two different new vehicles stowed on board, and then spread to the other nearby units.” There were 1,843 vehicles on board at the time.
1998-built, Italy-flagged, 51,714 gt Grande Europa is owned and ISM managed by Grimaldi Euromed SpA and commercial managed by Grimaldi Group SpA, of Naples, Italy. It is entered with Standard Club (European Division) on behalf of Grimaldi Euromed SpA. Norwegian Hull Club is claims leader for Hull and Machinery on behalf of Grimaldi Group SpA, with Gard having a subscription position.