Molasses Tanker in Sticky Situation as it Grounds off UK

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A small tanker designed to transport molasses found itself yet again in a difficult situation as it grounded for the second time on its regular runs into the port of Silloth, in Cumbia in northwest England. The vessel has a history of problems but appears to escaped serious problems as they were able to refloat the ship on high tide overnight, and it is now undergoing inspections.

HM Coastguard received reports that the Zapadnyy, a 3,300 dwt tanker, had gone aground around midday on Saturday, February 10 as it was inbound for Silloth. The RN Life Boat crew also responded to ensure that there was no danger with the reports that the vessel was sitting high on the mud as the wide went out. However, the crew was uninjured and there were no reports of damage. Crews and divers can be seen inspecting the hull of the ship in pictures taken by residents of the area.

Built in 1988, the vessel is 256 feet (78 meters) and registered in Belize. It is owned and managed from Odesa, Ukraine although has been operating under charter to a company in Germany. It was coming from Germany when they apparently misjudged the harbor entrance and found themselves stuck in the mud.

It was the second time in nearly eight years that the vessel went aground largely in the same place. Inbound in April 2016 it also grounded. As with this weekend’s incident, they were able to refloat the vessel on the high tide.

The ship, however, has a long history of deficiencies in its port state inspections. In October, it was cited in the Netherlands for safety issues including the gyrocompass was listed as “not readable.” In April 2023 while at Felixstowe, the UK MCA detained the vessel on issues of fire safety including doors and dampers.

The most serious incident of her career appears to have come in 2011 when the tanker sustained significant damage when it collided with a floating pier in Germany. Pictures show a large gash in the hull and taking on water they grounded the ship. It was however repaired and later resumed service.

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