Because it is deemed unseaworthy, a Dutch replica of the biblical animal-rescuing ark has been kept in the United Kingdom for 19 months. According to a report, the incident sparked a diplomatic controversy and fines of $700 per day.
It has piled up a bill of more than $17,000 due to being detained, with daily fines now totaling $700 since April 1, the NY Post stated.
Now it’s Noah’s Ark that needs saving.
Per the official documents obtained by the Ipswich Star, the 230-feet-long floating museum made a rare excursion out of Holland in November 2019 to dock in Orwell Quay in Ipswich, where it was seized by coast guard personnel who refused to allow it to sail away.
They noted the $3.7 million ark’s age and the fact that it lacked required certificates and details regarding its weight and stability, according to the report.
“We do have concerns about this vessel and we cannot rely on the grace of God that it can be safely towed to Holland,” officials from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency wrote.
The ark’s owner, Dutch TV producer Aad Peters, has been allowed to conduct previous trips since it is a “non-certified floating object” exempt from international regulations.
He claimed he is now stuck in an “impossible stalemate” in which he gets penalized for not leaving the UK but also barred from sailing.
According to the report, the Dutch government has urged UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office to let the ark sail.
“There is only one ark in the world, so let it go,” a former Dutch MP appealed with UK counterparts.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said, “It’s a very strange and unusual issue to crop up,” he told the local paper. “We’re working with the Dutch authorities and are trying our best to get it back to Holland one way or another.”
The UK Department of Transport said it was “aware of the situation” and is “in discussions with relevant agencies in the UK and the Netherlands.”
The MCA insisted that “Noah’s Ark will remain detained until all the deficiencies have been put right and an MCA surveyor is invited back by the owners to check they’ve been corrected.”
In 2010, Peters purchased the ark, and it took a team of 50 professional craftsmen five months to build the museum, which features wooden sculptures depicting Bible stories such as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the Nativity. According to its website, it is about half the size of the one pictured in the Bible.