THERE is growing concern for the safety of the crew of an unseaworthy tug that has gone missing, just weeks after it set sail from Manx waters.
Detention notices were served on ex-Admiralty vessel Juliette Pride II, and its sister ship Juliette Pride I, preventing them from setting sail from Newlyn, Cornwall.
Both Tanzanian-flagged vessels were deemed unsafe following an inspection by Coastguard surveyors who found numerous defects and deficiencies, many relating to safety equipment.
But in the early hours of Sunday, March 3, both boats jumped detention.
They are believed to be heading for Lagos, Nigeria, where their new owner Prince Akoto is based. But neither vessel has been spotted since – sparking fears about the crew’s safety.
Five Georgian crew members of the Juliette Pride II were stranded in the island for months after the boat arriving here in mid-December, having encountered engine problems.
With the seamen running desperately low on food and money, the Salvation Army stepped in to provide food parcels.
Negotiations conducted via harbour officials subsequently resulted in the mariners receiving their unpaid wages totalling $35,000 and air fares home to Georgia. Before they left, they thanked the Manx authorities for all their help.
The vessel, with a Ghanaian replacement crew, set sail last month on the next leg of its passage to Nigeria, only to be impounded on its arrival at Newlyn where it had rejoined its sister vessel.
Jo Rawlings, of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), said: ‘Following inspections, we issued detention notices on the Juliette Pride 1 and 2, preventing them from setting sail. These notices are issued when vessels are deemed unsafe.
‘In the early hours of Sunday, March 3, both vessels jumped detention from Newlyn harbour. We are now looking into this matter. We issue detention notices for a reason. We only do this if we are really concerned. We deemed them to be unsafe – certainly not safe enough to set sail. There is an obvious concern that wherever they are heading, they may not make it in one piece. It’s not looking too hopeful we are able to track them down, especially if they’ve left UK waters and gone into international waters – we don’t have the power to bring them back.’
Coastguard officials believe on-board tracking equipment may have been deliberately disabled.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 35 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 14 C
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