The floating Bible Museum StorieMark may not leave the port of the English Ipswich for the time being. The Dutch ship, also known as Noahs Ark, has already been docked in the East English coastal town in November 2019. But according to the British Coast Guard, the vessel is non-seaworthy, reporting local media and the BBC. The Coast Guard says its unsafe to leave.
The VerhalenArk was built in 2006 by the Dutch contractor and carpenter Johan Huibers. The ship is a (smaller) reconstruction of Noahs Ark as described in the Bible. The replica is 70 meters long and 13 meters high.
In 2010, the hazard was bought by former television producer Aad Peters. He wanted to make it the first floating biblical theme park in Europe. The museum features wooden sculptures of stories from the Bible, such as Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel.
According to the local newspaper Ipswich Star, the StoryMark does not meet all legal requirements and there are concerns about safety on the ship, including fire safety and the life jackets and lifeboats present.
The owners of the ship tell the newspaper that the ark has always been classified as “uncertified floating object”. According to them, the ship does not have to comply with international rules. Also, according to them, the vessel is fully insured and would have passed numerous inspections.
The Ipswich Star further writes that the StoryMark has already owed the British authorities more than £12,000 (over 14,000 euros) in detention costs since January. Since 1 April, the day the ark would actually leave, there would be a daily fine of £500 (EUR 582).
According to the newspaper, the case leads to tensions between the British and Dutch authorities, with the British Transport Minister Grant Shapps being asked to mediate.