Antipollution operations began in rough seas

A photo (taken by the French Navy) of an anti-pollution vessel going to the site. – Handout / NATIONAL MARINE / AFP

Do everything to avoid an oil spill. The anti-pollution operations began this Friday a race against the clock in the area of ​​the sinking of the
"Great America". A new oil slick was observed during the day, seeming to confirm new releases from the wreck.

"Despite very bad weather in the area of ​​the sinking of the" Great America ", control operations began in the afternoon," said in a statement the prefecture that their effectiveness will remain "dependent on the conditions weather ".

A new tablecloth in a rough sea

An oil slick 4.5 kilometers long and 500 meters wide, "compact in appearance", has been observed near the sinking area, the prefecture adds. "This is a new tablecloth," she told AFP.

"This observation seems to confirm that there is still a release of heavy fuel oil from the wreck," according to the statement, which states that the two layers detected so far "could not be observed again [vendredi] during the reconnaissance flight, because of a very rough sea ". The two tablecloths reported by the Maritime Prefecture so far were 13 km long and 7 km wide, one for 9 km long and 7 km wide, for the other. They drifted Thursday full east at the speed of 35 kilometers per day.

Two localized containers

In addition, two containers were located adrift, says the statement of the maritime prefecture: one to 30 km northeast of the wreck, the other 90 km to the east. Urgent notices to mariners have been issued to warn them of their presence. The shipowner, the Italian company Grimaldi, in connection with the Maritime Prefecture of the Atlantic, plans their recovery.

The anti-pollution device consists of the Argonaute and VN Sapeur BSAA chartered by the French Navy, the VN Partisan, chartered by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the BSAM Rhône of the French Navy, details the maritime prefecture. . A fifth ship, the Ria de Vigo, also chartered by EMSA, is due to arrive at the wreck area on Saturday.

The "Grande America" ​​sank Tuesday 333 km west of La Rochelle with on board 365 containers, 45 listed as containing hazardous materials, more than 2,000 vehicles, and 2,200 tons of heavy fuel oil in its bunkers.
Its 27 occupants were rescued and brought back safely to Brest.

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