Mystery surrounds Russian-crewed ship still in Channel Island waters

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MV Jireh – a former Norwegian fjord ferry apparently en route to West Africa – anchored off Gorey on 9 November and initially told ports authorities that they had sufficient supplies and
fuel.

Days later, the nine-strong crew of the Nigerian-registered ship asked to be allowed to dock in St Helier Harbour, but when they were told they needed to appoint agents to represent them, they left Jersey waters.

The boat has since been moored in the Little Russel – a stretch of water between Guernsey and Herm.

Jersey Harbourmaster Bill Sadler said: ‘They came down the east coast at the beginning of the month and asked to anchor. They later asked for a berth for a crew change but, as is standard practice when dealing with visiting ships, they were told they needed to appoint a ship’s agent to represent them. The following day
they disappeared off to Guernsey.’

The ship was recently sold by a Norwegian firm after being put up for sale for a reported $460,000, and changed its name from MV Strandebarm. It is understood that the vessel is being taken to its new owners in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

The Guernsey Co-op recently sent the crew food, and the island’s branch of the Red Cross dispatched men’s clothing.

According to shipping websites, the vessel was built in Norway in 1971 and can carry 195 passengers and 21 cars or three trucks. It can travel at up to 11.5 knots.

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