SERVICES

“Grande America”, French coast under stress

Genoa - Pollution control operations continue in the “Grande America” sinking area off the port of La Rochelle. “Pollution would not affect the coast this week,” say the authorities. But this picture “is subject to daily assessments”

Genoa - Pollution control operations continue in the “Grande America” sinking area off the port of La Rochelle despite difficult weather conditions. According to a statement from the prefecture of Gironde this Monday morning, “the pollution would not affect the coast this week.”

“It is however necessary to take into account the different drifting conditions of the debris and containers, whose arrival on the coasts could take place more precociously. Due to the many hazards and weather developments,” add the authorities. “The estimate of the consequences of the accident for the coast is subject to daily assessments.”

The aerial observations made Sunday by a surveillance aircraft of the Navy confirmed the presence of a hydrocarbon leak located in the proximity of the wreck. On the other hand, traces of “hydrocarbons” reported Saturday by an NGO on a beach in Gironde are in fact a pollution “of organic origin”, a kind of rising sludge near the estuary, not related to the freighter “Grande America” as the Agence France Press reports.

After several days of bad weather, a clear improvement is expected Tuesday, which should facilitate aerial surveillance and allow more effective means of pollution control. The “Grande America”, which had left Hamburg (Germany) for Casablanca (Morocco), sank Tuesday 333 km west of La Rochelle with on board 365 containers, 45 listed as containing hazardous materials, more than 2,000 vehicles, as well as 2,200 tons of heavy fuel oil in its bunkers. Its 27 occupants were rescued and brought back to Brest.

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