A replica of Noah’s Ark is stuck in the UK after coastguards deemed it unworthy for the seas.
The 2,000 sqm ship – which serves as a floating museum – has been moored in Ipswich for more than a year and a half ago.
Coastguards have said the replica of Noah’s Ark has been detained in the east England town.
Freedom of Information requests have revealed the Maritime and Coastguard Agency do not deem the museum seaworthy, according to the Ipswich Star.
The newspaper reported it has been receiving a fine of £500 a day since the start of April, on top of a bill of more than £12,000 before that for its detention.
According to the Ipswich Star, its detention report suggests the ship did not have key certificates when it arrived and there were concerns over overdue services for fire equipment, life jackets and life crafts.
The four-floor ship calls itself a “half-sized replica of Noah’s original boat”.
On its website, it says it is an “educational and cultural celebration of many of the Bible’s legendary stories” and is the “ “world’s only floating exhibition of Bible stories”.
Local media reported that the museum had been detained by coastguards for nearly the whole of its stay in Ipswich, after arriving in November 2019.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesperson said:“The vessel Noah’s Ark will remain detained until all the deficiencies have been put right and an MCA surveyor invited back by the owners to check they’ve been corrected.”
The ark had visited the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Norway before arriving on British shores.
It has been open to visitors in Orwell Quay in Ipswich since its arrival.
In a statement to the Ipswich Star, the owners of the vessel said: “The requirement to obtain full registration and the required certificates was and may not be achievable within the required timescales and would incur unreasonable costs and time delays to the vessel.
“Towage plans have now been made for the Ark to return to the Netherlands and the vessel is still awaiting towage approval to depart from the UK.
“Owners have been continuously seeking a means (of release) and (permittance) to be towed on a single voyage from the UK to the Netherlands, with an agreed towage plan.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are aware of the situation and are in discussions with relevant agencies in the UK and the Netherlands. Safety remains the top priority.”