Russians’ Unexpected Holiday

A Russian freighter was on its way from Russia to the UK when its owners got into financial difficulties. Now it’s moored in Motril Port awaiting its fate.

The ship, Zapolyarye, was carrying 23,000 tonnes of salt that it loaded in Tarragona and had called in at Ceuta when it received the news – you’re on your own.

With only six tonnes of fuel onboard and the company unable to pay for more, the ship remained anchored off Ceuta for two months because the port can’t take a ship of that size.

The Motril Port was informed by the Spanish Maritime Authorities that it would have to find room for the ship for an indefinite stay. She duly arrived, towed by three tugs, on Wednesday the 19th.

On board were 20 crew members who received assistance from the Spanish Red Cross. The original crew were landed on the 1st of September at Ceuta, so the people on board are the relief crew.

Things have definitely improved for them because whereas in Ceuta they weren’t allowed off the ship, in Motril the regulations state that they can move anywhere within ten kilometres of the port.

Most of the crew, therefore, have disappeared for a run ashore and one young lad stands guard with a walkie-talkie on the dockside. He says that they are very grateful for the fresh drinking water and food – they were running very short of both anchored in the Ceuta roadsteads.

The shipping company is raking the funds together to get them enough fuel to get the cargo to the UK, but that could take a couple of months. Besides, their sailing certificates have expired so they have to go through thorough inspections to obtain new ones.

But this isn’t a free stay because Motril Port receives 5,000 euros per day, for the first ten days, and thence 3,000 euros every day afterwards, so some handy shekels will be rattling in the port coffers just as soon as the shipping company gets the money together for the fuel, port taxes and sailing certificates.

In the meantime, its a spot of sun and sightseeing for the Russian crew…

(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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