Cornwall

Russian cargo ship grounded off Falmouth still detained in UK

The Kuzma Minin Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Kuzma Minin was grounded for just over eight hours

A Russian cargo ship that dramatically ran aground off Cornwall a year ago is still being detained by authorities.

The Kuzma Minin had to be towed to safety after grounding off Falmouth and has been tied to a buoy in a nearby estuary since December 2018.

The ship was quickly detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), after a number of defects were found.

It has since been sold for scrapping and renamed but is not considered seaworthy.

As of this week there remained six deficiencies on the bulk carrier that were grounds for its continued detention, according to the MCA.

Image copyright Getty Images/ Falmouth Harbour
Image caption The ship has been sold to new owners this year who have changed its name to Energy Annabelle

These included issues with safety equipment, the radio and gyro compass and work still going on to make the ship watertight after damage to its hull caused during the grounding.

The MCA said the ship remained under Port State Control detention.

"The current owners of the vessel have declared their intention to remove the vessel to Turkey for scrapping and the Environment Agency have placed a prohibition order, pending completion of the correct application and licence, to export the vessel as hazardous waste," it said.

A number of companies made claims against the owner of the ship, the Murmansk Shipping Company, including the salvors, a Russian bank and a bunkering organisation that was owed more than US$400,000 (about £304,000) for fuel.

They all took their claims to the Admiralty court, which ordered the sale of the ship in February.

Image caption The Kuzma Minin grounded off Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth at about 05:40 in the morning

It was sold to a Singapore based company for just over US$1m (about £760,000) in March.

Samuel Jones from Salvus Law, which represented one of the companies owed money, said the vessel had become the responsibility of the new owners when it was sold.

"The longer it takes to move her, the more it costs them out of their profits so it is a little surprising she is still there," he said.

The owners were understood to have employed a local boat owner to inspect the ship for safety and carry out regular checks that the mooring was secure.

The crew of 18 was repatriated to Russia after the 16,000-tonne ship was detained.

The 39-year-old vessel is tied to the Cross Roads salvage buoy belonging to Falmouth Harbour, which charges a ship of that size more than £1,000 per day, although it is understood there may be a discounted rate due to the extended length of stay.

The MCA said it was "continuing to liaise with the owner's representative and are currently waiting to receive a survey report on necessary hull repairs and issue of acceptable certification from the vessel's flag state".

Timeline

  • 18 December 2018 - Kuzma Minin grounds off Falmouth causing damage to hull and keel
  • 24 December - detained by the MCA as not deemed seaworthy, and moored to a buoy in the Carrick Roads, Falmouth
  • 2 January 2019 - ship arrested by the Admiralty Marshall
  • 12 February - Admiralty court judgement orders the ship to be sold after claims made against the owners
  • 20 March - ship sold to Compass Energy for $1,003,000 and crew repatriated to Russia. Name changed to "Energy Annabelle"
  • 1 August - Marine Accident investigation Branch report published and found the ship was not insured
  • 18 December - the ship remains moored to buoy in the Carrick Roads.

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