After catching fire on March 10 and sinking the following day, Italian container vessel Grande America has now spilled some 2,200 tonnes of fuel into the ocean. A slick six miles long and more than half a mile wide will likely reach the Brittany coastline by March 17. Attempts are being made to limit the spill.
The ship operator, Grimaldi Lines, says that 45 of the 365 containers on-board contained “hazardous materials,” including 10 tons of hydrochloric acid and 70 tons of sulphuric acid.
The head of the regional maritime authority has suggested that the consequences will be “very localized” and not “serious”—since most of the materials have burned—but French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois promised it would file a criminal complaint over the environmental damage. The group”s spokesperson, Jacky Bonnemains, told news agency AFP: “It’s a car crash at the bottom of the sea, representing hundreds of tons of toxic materials in an area very rich in fish, plankton and marine animals.”
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