Grimaldi confirm Grande America fire started in container cargo

The inferno on the Grande America was the third fire on a ship that started in a cargo container this year. Credit Marine Nationale.

The inferno on the Grande America was the third fire on a ship that started in a cargo container this year. Credit Marine Nationale.

The fire on the Grimaldi vessel Grande America started in a container stowed on deck of the vessel, Grimaldi told FreightWaves today.

The ship sank in the Bay of Biscay, off the west coast of France following the fire while en route from Hamburg, Germany to Casablanca in Morocco with a cargo of 363 containers and a load of cars, trucks and vans in the roll-on/roll-off section of the vessel.

A spokesman for Grimaldi said that an investigation is currently underway that will confirm the cargo that was on board the vessel and its value, as well as the cause of the fire. It is not thought that there was any misdeclared cargo on board, said the spokesman.

The Grande America sank on 12 March following the fire, which caused the vessel to list heavily before slipping beneath the waves, This was the third major fire on a container ship this year.

All 26 crew and a single passenger were rescued from the burning ship by a British Navy frigate on 11 March.