A DAMAGED cargo ship abandoned by its captain and crew just under 100 miles south east of Stanley is being towed to outside the Falklands Conservation Zone.
Last Friday May 5, Baltmed Reefer Services Ltd. reported that MV Uruguay Reefer had sent a distress signal and that it had severe flooding in the cargo holds.
Two days later the Master of the vessel decided to abandon ship as the flooding could not be contained. The 42 crew members were transferred to the escorting vessel MV Taganrogskiy Zaliv without injuries.
The MV Uruguay Reefer remained in the Falkland Islands Outer Conservation Zone (FOCZ), 96 miles south east from Stanley. This is just outside the Falkland Islands Interim Conservation and Management Zone (FICZ) and firmly inside the FOCZ. The MV Frio Las Palmas remained in the area to monitor the situation.
On May 8 The Fishery Protection Vessel (FPV) Protegat arrived at the scene and at the time of Penguin News going to print was still monitoring the situation alongside the MV Frio Las Palmas. The crew on-board the MV Taganrorogskiy Zaliv is being repatriated to Montevideo in Uruguay. The abandoned vessel remains in the current position in the FOCZ, and is drifting very slowly in a north-easterly direction.
The vessel is reported to have a nearly full cargo of frozen Illex squid and Krill. Penguin News asked Director of Natural Resources John Barton if the Falkland Islands Government could claim the valuable catch but he said: “Whilst some of the cargo may still be in good condition some inevitably will not be so it would become a mammoth task to deal with. Also, if you are not the original owner or transporter of frozen fish it is not always easy to sell.”