Russian Freighter Grounds off Falmouth
Murmansk Shipping Company, the operator of the freighter Kuzma Minin, has blamed "unsafe shipping conditions" in UK waters for the grounding involving its vessel Tuesday.
"The ship got caught on some sort of chain that was on the bottom of the strait," alleged Ildar Neverov, the firm's director, speaking to Russian outlet RIA Novosti. “We will clearly state our position on the fact that the conditions for safe navigation in this area have not been created [and] we will definitely look at recovery of damages.”
According to the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Minin dragged anchor and went aground in severe weather, coming to rest off a beach near the entrance to Falmouth harbor. An RNLI lifeboat out of Falmouth was among the first responders at the scene, and its crew reported Force 7-8 winds, torrential rain and swells of 10 feet.
The lifeboat stood by while authorities formulated a response plan, and the Minin's 18 crewmembers remained on board, along with a harbor pilot and a Coastguard rescue swimmer. Response officials dispatched five habor tugs and a salvage vessel to the scene to attempt a refloat at the afternoon high tide, and the freighter was successfully refloated at 1400 hours. No pollution or injuries have been reported.
In a social media post, Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko expressed his thanks to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for its prompt response and its goodwill in assisting a Russian vessel.
The 23,000 dwt freighter Kuzma Minin was built in 1980 by a German yard. In September, she was detained at Terneuzen, the Netherlands for 70 days over six deficiencies, including a missing seafarer employment agreement; out-of-survey SOLAS equipment; an expired Maritime Labour Certificate; insufficient provisions; and an inoperable gyrocompass. It was her second detention in three years.