Freighter cut in two as storms hit west France

The Spanish cargo ship Luno split in two atAnglet, near Bayonne
The Spanish cargo ship Luno split in two atAnglet, near Bayonne AFP/Gaizka Iroz

A freighter has split in two off the French coast, threatening parts of the west coast with oil pollution. Storms, which hampered the rescue of the crew, cut off power to 40,000 homes overnight.


The freighter Luno crashed into a seawall in the Bay of Biscay off Anglet in south-west France on Wednesday morning, splitting in two and threatening pollution from the

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120-160 cubic metres of fuel oil it was carrying.

Anti-pollution teams have been mobilised although officials say the pollution is likely to be limited.

Gales and high waves hampered efforts to save the 11 crew and one pilot from the port of Bayonne, preventing a first effort to evacuate them by helicopter.

A second effort by a military helicopter proved successful.

The Luno had come from the Spanish Basque port of Bilbao to pick up a cargo of steel balls at Bayonne.

Although the storms in the south-west slacked off on Wednesday 18 roads were reported blocked in the Landes area and warning of high waves were issued.

In Brittany 22,500 housholds were without electricity on Wednesday morning thanks to Storm Petra, which caused power cuts affecting 40,000 overnight.

Winds of up to 140 kilometres per hour toppled trees, blocking a number of roads, expecially in Finistère, adn causing emergency services to be called out 500 times.

Residents of part of Concarneau were evacuated after a tree fell on a tank containing 800 kilos of propane gas.

Waves caused more damage to the coastline, which had already suffered from storms at the weekend.

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