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Now it is Noah’s ark that needs to be saved.
A Dutch replica of the Biblical Animal Rescue Ark has been held in the UK for 19 months for being deemed unseaworthy – which, according to one report, sparked diplomatic ridicule and a fine of $ 700 a day.
The 230-foot floating museum made a rare trip from Holland in November 2019 to dock at Orwell Quay in Ipswich – where it was confiscated by Coast Guard officials who refused to allow it to be sailed, according to official Ipswich Star documents .
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“We have concerns about this ship and cannot rely on the grace of God that it can be safely towed to Holland,” Maritime and Coast Guard officials wrote in the documents.
They said the $ 3.7 million ark is 61 years old and lacks the necessary certificates and information about its weight and stability, the report said.
To date, it has raked in more than $ 17,000 in incarceration bills – with daily fines as of April 1, now $ 700, the newspaper said.
The owner of the Ark, Dutch television producer Aad Peters, said the ship was allowed to make previous voyages because it is an “uncertified floating object” that does not have to comply with international regulations.
He has complained that he is now in an “impossible stalemate” where he is being fined for not leaving the UK – but is also banned from setting sail.
The Dutch government lobbied for UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the report said.
“There is only one ark in the world, so let it go,” a former Dutch MP told his British counterparts, according to the newspaper.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said the diplomatic matter appeared to have “hit a wall a bit”.
“It’s a very strange and unusual topic that comes up,” he told the local newspaper. “We are working with the Dutch authorities and are trying our best to get it back to Holland one way or another.”
A spokesman for the UK Department of Transport told the newspaper it was “aware of the situation” and “in talks with relevant authorities in the UK and the Netherlands”.
“Safety remains the top priority,” emphasized the spokesman.
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The MCA insisted that “Noah’s Ark remain in custody until all defects are corrected and an MCA appraiser is invited by the owners to verify that they have been corrected.”
Peters bought the ark in 2010 and it took a team of 50 skilled craftsmen five months to create the museum with wooden sculptures depicting biblical stories like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the birth of Christ. It is believed to be about half the size of the one depicted in the Bible, according to its website.
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