Now it’s Noah’s Ark that needs to be saved.
A Dutch replica of the biblical animal-saving sheet has been kept in the UK for 19 months because it is considered unsuitable – triggering a diplomatic spit and $ 700 a day fines, according to a report.
The 230-meter-long floating museum made a rare trip out of the Netherlands in November 2019 to dock at Orwell Quay in Ipswich – where it was seized by Coast Guard officers who refused to let it sail away according to official documents obtained by the Ipswich Star.
“We are concerned about this ship and we cannot trust the grace of God that it can be safely towed to Holland,”
They cited the $ 3.7 million sheet, which was 61 years old, as well as the lack of necessary certificates and information about its weight and stability, the report said.
So far, it has collected a bill of more than $ 17,000 from being detained – with daily fines since April 1 now $ 700, the paper said.
The ark’s owner, Dutch TV producer Aad Peters, said the ship had been allowed to take previous trips because it is a “non-certified floating object” not required to comply with international rules.
He has complained that he is now in an “impossible stalemate”, where he is fined for not leaving the UK – but also banned from setting sail.
The Dutch government has lobbied the United Kingdom’s Transport Minister Grant Shapps as well as the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the report said.
“There is only one sheet in the world, so let it go,” a former Dutch MP told British colleagues, according to the paper.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said, however, that the diplomatic issue seems to have “hit a bit of a wall,”.
“It is a very strange and unusual question to appear,” he told the local newspaper. “We are working with the Dutch authorities and trying our best to get it back to the Netherlands in some way.”
A spokesman for the UK Department of Transport said the paper was “aware of the situation” and “in discussions with relevant agencies in the UK and the Netherlands.”
“Security remains a top priority,” the spokesman stressed.
The MCA insisted that “Noah’s Ark remains detained until all deficiencies have been rectified and an MCA surveyor is invited back by the owners to verify that they have been corrected.”
Peters bought the ark in 2010, and a team of 50 expert craftsmen took five months to set up the museum with wooden sculptures depicting Bible stories, including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the birth. It is believed to be about half the size of what is depicted in the Bible, according to its website.