The Grimaldi Group-owned ro/ro ship Grande Europa was assisted by tug to the port of Pama de Mallorca Thursday morning after two fires broke out on board the vessel in the early hours Wednesday while it was en route from Salerno to the Spanish port of Valencia, the shipowner said in a statement.
The Grande Europa had 25 crew members on board as well as 1,687 vehicles, the vast majority of which were brand new, and 49 containers with mainly food products, Grimaldi said.
The alarm was given by the crew about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday that a fire had broken out on deck 3, and it was completely extinguished by the crew after about 45 minutes. A second alarm was located about 4 a.m. on deck 8, which spread to deck 9, and the crew again intervened with firefighting equipment. The master informed the Italian and Spanish authorities and the Grimaldi Group’s Naples, Italy, headquarters of the fires.
Fifteen crew members were evacuated about 9:30 a.m. by a Spanish Coast Guard helicopter, which transferred them to a Spanish Navy unit. All were in good condition, according to the Salvamento Maritimo, a Spanish sea search and rescue agency.
“Preliminary investigations of the Grimaldi Group suggest that the two fires started from two different new vehicles stowed on board and then spread to the other nearby units,” Grimaldi’s statement said.
The Grimaldi Group also said in the statement it is launching an appeal to introduce “more stringent controls and regulations on cargo sea transport.” It requests there be more controls on car batteries and calls for the “total prohibition of the presence of personal effects in second-hand vehicles embarked on ro/ro vessels”.
Grimaldi also urged the International Maritime Organization to make the certification by a classification society of the correct stuffing of containers carrying dangerous goods mandatory.
The Grande Europa fires came about two months after the Grimaldi Group-owned con/ro ship Grande America sank in the Bay of Biscay following a fire.