Already registered? Download PDF LOGIN or SIGN UP
Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
05/11/18 11:26

Hot autumn at quay: another fire in the port of Savona

One week after the fire at the Port Authority, another violent fire broke out simultaneously with the wild sea storm destroying hundreds of cars at Grimaldi's SAT compound

I danni del maltempo al SAT - Savona Auto Terminal

Following the fire that broke out last week in the new seat of the Port Authority, hosting the offices and staff of the new Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority (fortunately all the 40 employees inside the building survived), Savona was damaged by another fire caused by weather-marine elements that broke out in the port of Savona.

As a matter of fact, during the night between October the 29th and the 30th the entire Ligurian coast, from Eastern to Western Riviera (including Genoa), was hit by an unprecedented sea storm – following two days of cloudbursts – with 10 meters high waves that destroyed everything on their way: seawalls, wharfs, quays, boats, yachts and cars parked close to port shores.

However, the paradox in Savona was that the fire was caused by the excess of water.

In fact, the fire that destroyed most of the hundreds of vehicles stored in SAT Savona Auto Terminal's (Grimaldi Group) – the company that suffered most damage – and Fratelli Piana's (Campostano Group) yards was probably caused by the sea salt contained in the breakers that overcame the insufficient barriers of breakwaters, covering the yards. 

Although 4 fire brigades have just extinguished the fire and are carrying out the necessary operations to make the yards safe, according to unofficial sources estimated damages could amount to dozens of millions of euros.

The 1,000 vehicles parked in the yards could have all exploded and got burned and, even though the units damaged by the fire are definitely less, their number is still huge.

Besides brand new cars stored to be loaded onboard and exported – including also high-powered cars such as Maserati with significant unit value intended for the Middle East market – the fire that rapidly propagated with a domino effect affected also some close-by vehicles and infrastructures.

The fire probably broke out due to short circuits in the vehicles batteries caused by the sea water that partially covered them during the sea storm. Sparks set tanks on fire illuminating the night and causing pillars of smoke and noisy rumbles that woke up the residents.

Also quays were damaged by the violent south-west wind reaching almost 200 Km per hour. The mooring in the area 33 is currently unusable as deep-sea divers are carrying out assessment operations to ascertain whether it is a structural failure or only surface damages.

Also several warehouses and coastal depots (two tankers) suffered serious damages.

The former seat of the Port Authority was reopened to carry out ordinary administrative activities, waiting for the competent bodies to establish the causes of the fire that in three hours almost completely destroyed the Port Authority's building close to port gates.

Following the numerous disasters caused by adverse weather conditions occurred in October, Savona mayor Ilaria Caprioglio wrote on her social network page: “After an extremely difficult night due to the violent sea storm that caused also a fire in the city port, we have been working unceasingly to deal with emergencies and to get back to normal. Thank you to all those who, also in this emergency, worked to safeguard our safety”.

Angelo Scorza

TAG : Ports