Grande America

Grande America was a roll-on/roll-off cargo ship built by Fincantieri in 1997, owned and operated by Grimaldi Lines, a subsidiary of Grimaldi Group.

Grande America oil spill
LocationBay of Biscay, France
Coordinates46.068889°N 5.784444°W / 46.068889; -5.784444
Date12 March 2019 (2019-03-12)
CauseFoundering of the Grande America cargo ship
OperatorGrimaldi Lines
Spill characteristics
Volumeca. 2,200 tonnes (4,900,000 lb) marine fuel (metric tonnes)
Areaca. 10 km (6.2 mi) × 1 km (0.62 mi)


On 10 March 2019, Grande America caught fire while traveling the Atlantic Ocean between France and Spain on its route from Hamburg (Germany) to Casablanca (Morocco), and sank 15,000 feet into the Bay of Biscay on 12 March.[1][2] The 27 people on board were rescued by HMS Argyll after they had abandoned the ship and boarded a lifeboat on 11 March.[3]

An oil spill of about 10 km (6.2 mi) in length and 1 km (0.62 mi) in width began moving towards the French coast line, threatening the areas around La Rochelle, Biarritz and Vendée.[4] The ship was carrying 365 containers, of which 45 contained material deemed to be hazardous, including 10 tonnes of hydrochloric acid and 70 tonnes of sulfuric acid.[5]

The ship also contained dozens of vehicles that were to be delivered to Brazilian importers, including 37 Porsche vehicles. Four of these were Porsche's last units of the 911 GT2 RS, which went out of production in February 2019. The sinking led to Porsche reactivating the production line for the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, so that these four last units could be delivered to their owners in Brazil.[6]

The ship also contained dozens of Audi cars, including RS4 and RS5 models.[7]

The wreck was located by Island Pride (a vessel leased to Ocean Infinity)[8][9] that arrived 30 March and started inspecting the wreck site using remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs).[10] Subseqently, Ocean Infinity’s ROVs sealed light leaks of oil discovered during the inspection.[11]

See also


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