MAIB: Grounded Russian Vessel off Falmouth Had No Insurance

Grounded Russian cargo ship Kuzma MininImage Courtesy: Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team

Russian cargo ship Kuzma Minin, that grounded off Falmouth, England in December 2018, was not insured, according to a report by UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The vessel grounded after dragging its anchor in Falmouth Bay in strong winds on December 18. Kuzma Minin was refloated on the next high water. A subsequent inspection showed that the ship, owned by Murmansk Shipping Company, suffered shell plate deformation and breached tanks below the waterline.

Although the movement towards shore was quickly detected by the bridge watchkeeper, the actions taken to proceed to sea were interrupted by the anchor becoming fouled by a discarded length of anchor chain, MAIB explained.

As focus was turned to clearing the anchor, Kuzma Minin was blown towards the shore at a speed of over 2 knots.

Falmouth’s harbourmaster used local resources to refloat the vessel, but concerns over Kuzma Minin’s lack of P&I insurance cover, and its owner’s lack of co-operation in appointing a salvor, “caused unexpected pressures”.

Namely, the financial situation of the Murmansk Shipping Company meant that Kuzma Minin’s master was unable to replenish bunkers and lube oil which influenced his decision to remain at anchor on a lee shore when strong winds were forecast.

Additionally, the ship’s lack of P&I insurance led to concerns over responsibility for salvage payment which hindered the appointment of experts and the ability to secure the services of an additional tug that was on passage nearby.

MAIB issued a recommendation to Murmansk Shipping Company to take steps to ensure that its vessels are adequately resourced to operate safely and in accordance with international conventions, taking into account the potential consequences of vessels having insufficient fuel and oils, and the statutory requirement to maintain P&I insurance.

Following the accident, Falmouth Harbour Commission strengthened existing measures to check, where required, visiting vessels have protection and indemnity insurance, and to improve the safety of vessels at anchor in Falmouth Bay.

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