Italian-flagged Grande America sinks off French coast after onboard fire
THE fire-stricken Italian-flagged ConRo vessel Grande America sank on Tuesday about 180 nautical miles off the French coast, according to the French Atlantic Maritime Prefecture, after a fire broke out Sunday night that caused all 27 people on board to abandon ship in the Bay of Biscay
13 March 2019 - 19:00
Firefighting operations by the tug Abeille Bourbon were suspended earlier on Tuesday due to the Grande America's worsening tilt to its right side and the watering done to the bridge not allowing the fire inside the ship to be controlled, the Prefecture said.
The Grande America, owned and operated by the Italian Grimaldi Group, was en route from Hamburg in Germany to Casablanca in Morocco when the fire started in a container loaded on the weather deck before spreading to other nearby containers.
The Grimaldi Group said in a press release the ship's master decided shortly after 2 am Monday to abandon ship with all on board - 26 crew members and one passenger - aboard a single lifeboat. They were safely evacuated onto the Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll after the lifeboat sustained damage on the heavy seas and was unable to make headway.
None of 27 people rescued suffered life-threatening injuries and were taken to the French port of Brest, American Shipper reported.
The fire was the third serious containership fire in 2019. In January, fires broke out on both the 7,150-TEU Yantian Express and the 9,200-TEU APL Vancouver.
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