Grimaldi car carrier catches fire in Balearic Sea

Image: Salvamento Maritimo
Image: Salvamento Maritimo

A car carrier operated by Grimaldi Lines suffered an onboard fire while it was sailing through the Balearic Sea 25 nautical miles south of Mallorca, Spain, on Wednesday, May 15.

The blaze erupted as Grande Europa was transporting a cargo of over 1,600 brand new motor vehicles from Salerno to Valencia.

The Salvamento Maritimo search and rescue (SAR) agency despatched two vessels and two helicopters to the scene of the incident as the car carrier’s crew fought to contain the blaze.

Fifteen of Grande Europa’s 25 crewmembers were evacuated by responding rescue teams and brought aboard the SAR vessels and a nearby Spanish Navy ship while the remaining 10 stayed behind to concentrate on firefighting efforts.

The fire was declared fully extinguished by 13:00, by which time Grande Europa was taken under tow by an ocean-going tug that arrived at the scene to assist.

The stricken vessel arrived in Palma with tugs and rescue boats escorting it at 05:15 on Thursday, May 16.

An inspection of the hull and the interior has yet to reveal to investigators both the cause and the origin of the fire. However, it has since been confirmed that Grande Europa did not suffer any structural damage that could eventually lead to oil spills or the loss of the vessel.

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