Grimaldi’s “Grande” ships pending departure and arrival in Le Havre

18 Mar 2019

The Grande America, press release n°6

Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) requests that the ships of Grimaldi Lines (owner of the Grande America) currently calling or expected to call in the port of Le Havre be urgently subjected to detailed inspections, particularly regarding fire-fighting systems, the on-board distribution of hazardous materials and the safety of the hundreds of used vehicles awaiting loading. Given the circumstances, a careful examination of on-board vehicles and containers should be carried out if necessary by OCLAESP (Central Office of the fight against environmental and public health violations).

The Grande Brasile is docked in Le Havre. She comes from Hamburg, like the Grande America. She is loading hundreds of used vehicles. Her departure is scheduled for the day after tomorrow, March 20th, 2019. She is expected in Dakar (Senegal), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Conakry (Guinea), Lome (Togo), Bata (Equatorial Guinea), Douala (Cameroon) and Takoradi (Ghana). Between 2004 and March 2019, more than 70 deficiencies were identified on board the Grande Brasile by maritime safety inspectors in European and South American ports. She flies the flag of Gibraltar.

The Grande Nigeria is expected to arrive in Le Havre tomorrow, March 19th, 2019, also from Hamburg. After Le Havre she will head towards Casablanca and the ports of West Africa.

In any case, she is a sister-ship of the Grande America.  She was detained in Hamburg in February 2018 for 4 days for 13 deficiencies. In 2013, she was detained for 6 days in Le Havre for 14 deficiencies. She has not been inspected in a European port since July 2018 (4 deficiencies in Hamburg). She flies the Italian flag.

In addition, Robin des Bois wrote to the General Secretariat for the Sea, placed under the Prime Minister’s authority, to obtain the inventory of the cargo of the Grande America (letter below).

March 18th, 2019

Mr. Secretary-General of the Sea

Copies :
Mr. Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition
Mr. Maritime Prefect of the Atlantic

Subject: Disaster of the Grande America

Mr. Secretary-General,

As an NGO specializing in maritime transport risks, taking into account the atmospheric and marine pollution caused by the fire and subsequent sinking of the Grande America in France’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and the risks of oil and other waste arriving in territorial waters and the Bay of Biscay coast, we ask you to kindly provide us with the list and quantities of hazardous materials (as defined by the IMDG, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods, code) shipped in 45 containers, as mentioned in the declarations made by the Atlantic Maritime Prefecture on Wednesday, March 13th 2019.

The prefecture mentioned, for example, the presence of 100 tons of hydrochloric acid and 70 tons of sulphuric acid, but these data are far from constituting a complete inventory of the hazardous materials which were loaded in 45 containers. Additionally, as you know, some waste such as WEEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment Waste) is not considered hazardous within the meaning of the IMDG Code, but nevertheless contains polluting substances that may contaminate ecosystems. Other cargoes, such as plastic bottles or polystyrene sheets for example, may also pose a risk to marine food chains. It is for these reasons that we also want to be informed of the qualitative and quantitative inventory of other goods shipped on board the Grande America.

In its press release on Thursday, March 14th, 2019, the Italian shipowner Grimaldi Lines stated that the loading of radioactive, explosive, toxic and corrosive materials was banned on board the Grande America. These statements are in contradiction with the information provided by the Atlantic Maritime Prefect on the basis of the shipowner’s declarations. These inconsistencies reinforce our concerns and the need for transparency towards sea users, local authorities, staff responsible for waste collection at sea or on land and the public.

Thank you for your attention and we look forward to hearing from you. Please accept our respectful salutations.

Jacky Bonnemains and Charlotte Nithart
Robin des Bois.


See previous press releases on the Grande America:
South of Brittany: Grande America ablaze. March 11, 2019
The sinking of Grande America. March 12, 2019
The Grande America in the spotlight. March 15, 2019
The Grande America: Grimaldi Lines took too much acid. March 15, 2019
The Grande America: Safety First. March 18, 2019




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