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Detained ship likely to leave port shortly

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

  • IN TROUBLE: The Express 1 being towed into Fowey.

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A LIVESTOCK vessel which was detained in Fowey for five weeks to undergo urgent maintenance is likely to leave the port this week.

The MV Express 1 has remained in Fowey since early February after concerns were raised about the state of the ship, including the "appalling" living conditions for the crew.

The vessel was towed into the port after it suffered engine failure off the Lizard on February 3.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspected the 7,000-tonne ship shortly after its arrival and slapped its owners with a detention notice – meaning it couldn't depart until necessary improvements were made.

After weeks of work, the ship was due to depart last Friday – only for the MCA to decide it still wasn't ready.

A spokesman for the MCA told the Cornish Guardian: "The Express 1 remains under detention at Fowey following an inspection.

"The operator has made some safety improvements, but there are still some issues.

"Further maintenance work will take place to ensure the ship meets safety standards.

"We will reinspect it once the maintenance work is complete."

The Panamanian-registered ship was crewed by Syrians with Filipino officers.

An investigation was launched after the authorities discovered the crew had no hot water or heating and had not received adequate safety training.

An MCA spokesman said previously: "The detention was served for a number of safety issues, including concern over the crew's emergency training, the fire detection systems, and deficiencies in the crew accommodation with a lack of hot water and heating."

Pat Dolby, inspection operations manager with the MCA, said substandard living conditions for crew members will not be tolerated.

"Ships visiting our ports in the UK are subject to thorough inspection by us at the MCA and Port Health Authorities to ensure there is no risk to safety, the environment, crew health and welfare and to public health ashore," he said.

The crew were assisted in Fowey by the town's branch of the Mission to Seafarers.

Elaine Elliott, branch manager, said: "We have helped out the crew while they have been here, providing free wi-fi so they can contact their families back home.

"The conditions on board were not good but all the works are just about complete now," she said. "The crew were extremely grateful for our help."

She said they had been paid by the ship's owners and the mission made sure they were well fed.

Fowey harbour master Captain Paul Thomas added that conditions on board had now improved but there were still a few issues that needed to be rectified before the detention notice would be lifted.

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