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Accident date
Accident area
Anglet (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France)
Spill area
Cause of spill
Structural damage
Quantity transported
120 tonnes of fuel
Nature of pollutant
Marine diesel
Ship / structure type
Cargo vessel
Built date
100 m
12.4 m

The cargo vessel Luno was en route to the port of Bayonne, France, when it suffered a total blackout and hit the Cavaliers breakwater (Anglet, Pyrénées-Atlantiques) on the morning of 5th February 2014. Blasted by 110 km/h winds from Storm Petra and 6 to 7-metre waves, the ship broke in two. The Luno was travelling in ballast from Bilbao to collect a cargo of steel balls. That afternoon, the 11 crew members and the pilot were airlifted to safety by helicopter.

A leak of marine diesel from the cracked bunker tanks was reported and the first level of the French Polmar Land contingency plan was activated. The authorities for the Pyrénées-Atlantiques area requested the presence on site of an expert from Cedre, who arrived on the 6th, to conduct surveys on the nearby beaches (Cavaliers and La Barre), and to provide technical advice for any shoreline clean-up operations, which in fact proved unnecessary due to the rapid natural breakdown of the spilt fuel in the prevailing conditions.

During the night, as adverse weather conditions continued to prevail, the stern section of the Luno broke off in two parts, which sank against the Cavaliers breakwater. The fuel contained in the rear bunkers was released into the marine environment.




The Dutch firm Smit Salvage (specialised in providing assistance to ships in distress) contracted by the insurer Luno, began to pump the fuel out of the bow section. After an unsuccessful initial attempt on the 7th, a second attempt was made and the teams decided to pierce the tank to recover the fuel. The operation began on the morning of the 8th and was completed the same day. Around 60 tonnes of fuel were recovered and stored in tanker trucks. Meanwhile, around 20 tonnes, located in the stern section of the wreck, were released at sea. The marine diesel, which has low persistence, was mixed by strong wave energy, causing it to be naturally dispersed and diluted in the sea, without resulting in environmental impact.




On the morning of the 10th, the Sub-Prefect of Bayonne, the insurer and the mayor of Anglet decided that the cargo ship was to be dismantled. An international call for tenders was immediately issued, covering the salvage of both the bow section, which was sitting on Cavaliers beach, and the stern section, which was underwater around 10 metres from the shore.


On 17th March, dismantling operations began on the Luno, conducted by the Dutch companies Svitzer (wreck removal) and Koole (waste disposal). These operations were scheduled to take several weeks. In addition to the visible sections sitting on the shore, some 20 parts scattered at sea, detected by underwater sonar, were recovered. The sections were cut up on the beach using a thermal lance and loaded into containers by crane before being evacuated to a suitable treatment centre within 24 hours.
Several investigations were opened to determine the causes of the incident, including an enquiry by the French Marine Accident Investigation Office (BEA mer) and another by the French maritime police.

Last update on 07/07/2014

See also

Sea & Shore Technical Newsletter, 2014, n°39

Cedre Newsletter, n° 221, News from February 2014

External links

Investigation report, CIAIM (Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes e Incidentes Marítimos) 

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