The 120 meter long self-propelled tanker-barge Pampero ran aground on the Rhône at the locks in Sablons, France. The Pampero was en route to Lavera from Port de Bouc with a cargo of 2200 tons of vinyl chloride. As the tanker-barge proceeded out of the lock, it was pull back by suction towards the lock gate . Unable to overcome the current, the Pampero struck the downstream lock gate ripping the lock gate away. The Pampero struck with enough force to have its wheelhouse torn away and part of the hull buckled. The tanker-barge floated a short distance from the lock before it ran aground.
Authorities were alerted and dispatched some 70 persons to the scene. The Pampero had sustained three hull breaches releasing some of the toxic gas. Reports state the amount of gas released was low, but some nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution. Divers later arrived on scene and complete repairs and plug the leaks. Another tanker-barge was requested to offload the 2200 tons of cargo. Traffic on the Rhône remains closed above and below the lock until repairs to the lock and tanker-barge can be completed. No reports of injuries.