Place of Refuge Sought for Fire-Damaged Bulk Carrier Off U.K.

MV V DUE. File photo: MarineTraffic.com/
MV V DUE. File photo: MarineTraffic.com/David Berg

Officials in the U.K. are searching for a place of refuge for the bulk carrier V Due after a fire in one of its cargo holds while at anchor in the Irish Sea off the Isle of Anglesey.

The UK’s Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSREP) Hugh Shaw announced Monday he has established a Salvage Control Unit (SCU) to discuss a place of refuge for the vessel, which remains in stable condition.

The UK Coastguard was alerted to the fire at approximately 4:30 p.m. last Thursday (Dec. 1) as the Maltese-flagged V Due was at anchor off the east coast of the Isle of Anglesey, located just off the northwest coast of Wales. The vessel has remained in stable condition and no injuries or pollution have been reported throughout the incident.

The Coastguard has reported only damage to the ship’s cargo hold.

Salvors from SMIT Salvage have now produced a draft outline plan that involves passage to port and discharging cargo, however an agreement on the place of refuge is still being finalized.

“Talks are continuing but I am comfortable with the progress that has been made so far,” SOSREP Hugh Shaw said Monday. “The vessel is currently stable, ventilation has improved significantly since yesterday and the ship’s crew are safe and well.”

“There is no evidence of any pollution and I will continue to monitor that situation very closely. I have established a Temporary Exclusion Zone (TEZ) of 500m to ensure that access to the vessel is restricted to the ship’s crew and the salvors. The SCU will meet tomorrow to discuss future plans including a suitable port for cargo discharge,” Shaw added.