'Floating bomb' ready for towing to Germany
A ghost ship described as a toxic floating bomb which was being held 20 miles off the Cornish coast is now on its way out of British waters, officials have said.
The fire-ravaged MSC Flaminia has left its holding position south of Land's End, were it has been for a number of weeks, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed.
The controversial ship is now bound for Germany after approval for its passage was given by the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The ship, owned by Reederei NSB, caught fire in the mid-Atlantic on July 14.
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One sailor died in the subsequent explosion and another is missing presumed dead. A further three men were injured and the rest of the German, Polish and Filipino crew abandoned the ship 1,000 miles from Land's End.
The ship was inward bound from Charleston, South Carolina, for Antwerp, Felixstowe and Bremerhaven.
The stricken 85,823-tonne vessel was laden with a cargo of 2,876 containers, 149 being classed as dangerous goods.
A Russian master mariner has since published on the internet a list of what he claims was on board. Mikhail Voytenko said the cargo included the pesticide isopropylamine, nitromethane – a fuel used in the Oklahoma City bombing – liquid amines, phosphorus and sodium.
"MSC Flaminia is actually a big chemical, toxic and miscellaneous dangerous substances floating bomb," he said.
"No wonder crew fled the vessel, no wonder EU states fear MSC Flaminia is just short of being a nuclear device ready to explode."
The ship has been held up so that an international six-man team of inspectors can examine persistent "hot spots" in the hold.
The MSC Flaminia is expected to take up to five days to reach Jade-Weser-Port near Wilhelmshaven where the German government has agreed to allow her to be unloaded at an unused deep-water berth.
An MCA spokesman said yesterday: "While the MSC Flaminia suffered considerable damage, environmental assessments have shown no pollution. An international independent inspection team, with representatives from the UK, France and Germany, went on board the vessel last Tuesday."
She said inspectors were "completely satisfied" the vessel was in a "safe and stable condition" to make the voyage to Germany.