The Italian master and two officers who were on the Grimaldi Group’s conro Grande Europa, that suffered a fire in May, have appeared in court in Valencia, Spain for alleged arson.
The vessel burst into flames some 25 nautical miles off Mallorca, Spain, while en route from Salerno to Valencia in mid-May.
According to the maritime trade union Nautilus International, all three officers strongly deny the accusation of setting off two fires on the ship. Bail was set at EUR 9,000 for the master and EUR 5,000 each for the other two officers.
Grimaldi Group earlier said the major blaze on the ship was likely to have been caused by batteries in two new cars onboard, fuelling concerns over the risks posed by cargoes of hybrid and electric vehicles.
It said that preliminary investigations “suggest that the two fires started from two different new vehicles stowed on board, and then spread to the other nearby units.”
In addition to the Grande Europa case, fires on two other Grimaldi vessels in the last eight months, Cruise Ausonia and Grande America, are still under investigation.