At 2152 LT Nov 18 2010 Rescue Coordination Center Bodo Norway got an alert message from fishing vessel Fløgrunn requesting assistance after collision with unknown cargo vessel, some 25 miles NE off Finmark, Norway, Barents sea. Rescue boat Gjert Wilhelmsen arrived at the scene and took on board one of 3-crew of Fløgrunn, while two other fishermen tried to control water ingress. Fløgrunn was taken on tow, but as soon as rescue boat started to tow Fløgrunn quickly sank, leaving two crew on surface. They were lifted aboard rescue board, all three uninjured.
Norwegian fishermen said they didn’t recognize name or IMO of the vessel they collided with, but noticed vessel’s name was written in Cyrillic. Norway Coast guard recognized involved vessel as general cargo Vladimir Timofeyev, enroute Bristol UK to Arkhangel Russia. Coast guard requested Vladimir Timofeyev to turn back or to stop, but vessel didn’t return VHF calls and reached Russian waters.
Russian media reports Vladimir Timofeyev Master said on the phone they didn’t notice any collision. Statement rather hard to believe if we look at AIS scheme of vessel’s movements timing 2100 – 24000 Nov 18. If there are no other facts and explanations, it’s a clear case of hit&run.
Fløgrunn - SF 62 V, 43 GT, length 20 meters, built 1970.
Vladimir Timofeyev IMO 7310636, dwt 13955, built 1973, flag Russia, owner Northern Steamship Co., Arkhangel.
Scheme of Timoveyev movements and a pic at http://www.odin.tc/eng/articles/877-Russian-freighter-fled-after-collision-with-Norwegian-fishing-vessel.asp
Update Nov 21
Who sank Norwegian trawler and why Norway dropped another suspect?
Owner of Russian m/v Vladimir Timofeyev gave to Maritime Bulletin detalied description of what happened in the evening hours of Nov 18 near Norwegian waters in Barents sea, both in written form and on the phone. Facts they are stating leave no doubt, that m/v Vladimir Timofeyev has nothing to do with collision and subsequent sinking of Norwegian fishing vessel Fløgrunn. Main facts are as follows:
- there was another vessel in the area where incident took place;
- positions of that vessel, of f/v Fløgrunn and of m/v Vladimir Timofeyev indicate involvement in collision of that vessel, not of m/v Vladimir Timofeyev: f/v Fløgrunn sank in 71 04 N 030 06 E; m/v Vladimir Timofeyev was at that time in 71 10 9 N; 029 52 15 E, vessel in question was 6-8 nm ahed of m/v Vladimir Timofeyev;
- m/v Vladimir Timofeyev changed course and headed for sinking f/v Fløgrunn to assist, obeying request from MRCC Bodo, that is why scheme of m/v Vladimir Timofeyev movements is so complicated;
- vessel in question didn’t change course and proceeded as scheduled, to destination port Murmansk, Russia;
- m/v Vladimir Timofeyev disobeyed Norwegian Coast Guard request to proceed to Norway waters for investigation, Coast Guard vessel Farm closed m/v Vladimir Timofeyev and tried to embark investigation team, but Master of m/v Vladimir Timofeyev disobeyed that request too, and took vessel to Russian waters, reason for his disobey is explicable – a year ago under similar circumstances Norway authorities detained m/v Mekhanik Tyulenev and accused him of collision with Norwegian trawler, after two weeks investigation, charge against vessel were dropped and vessel was released, no excuses given, not to mention any compensation for losses suffered by owner, same Northern Steamship Company;
- on arrival to Russian waters, vessel was visually inspected by Russian Coast Guard, later on arrival to Arkhangel road, vessel was inspected by Russian authorities;
- vessel in question is Chinese bulk carrier Yutai Ambitions, IMO 9326160, dwt 77283, built 2008, flag Honk Kong, owner and operator Taiship Co. Ltd Hong Kong;
- m/v Yutai Ambitions wasn’t ever mentioned by Norwegian authorities in official statements to Norway media, m/v Yutai Ambitions wasn’t requested to proceed to Norwegian waters for investigation, though under circumstances this vessel was at least as much suspect as Russian vessel;
- pictures were taken after m/v Yutai Ambitions arrived to Murmansk and was berthed, there are clear signs of some kind of bruising on bow, and fresh paint on portside, bow section;
- Russian side, Northern Steamship Co., is ready to provide all necessary fact and documents, and due to nature of those documents, most of which are electronic data, we may exclude any tampering or forge attempts;
- there are no indications from Norway side they consider other version and other suspect, though there is another suspect, whose only reaction was, so far, fresh suspicious painting and as quick start of loading cargo as possible.
Barents sea for a long time is an hidden from the rest of the world zone of Cold War going on between Russia and Norway, on sea ways and fishing grounds, there are many complaints from Russian shipping and fishery on very unfriendly behaviour of Norwegian authorities. Wether this behaviour has sound reasons or not, is not the question in present case, civilized ways of international shipping routine require impartial investigation of incidents, and regretfully, as Russian side sees it, Norway failed to be just.
Pics below: scheme of m/v Vladimir Timofeyev movements; scheme of m/v Yutai Ambitions movements; pic of m/v Yutai Ambitions taken on Nov 20 in Murmansk Sea Port. Schemes taken from AIS data on marinetraffic.comhttp://www.odin.fm/pics/vtimofeyev1.jpghttp://www.odin.fm/pics/yutaiambitions1.jpghttp://www.odin.fm/pics/yutaiambitions.jpg