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Mystery over missing tug

There are concerns for the fate of a Nigerian-owned tug which was rescued by lifeboat after breaking down in Manx waters. It has now vanished from detention in Cornwall.

Juliet Pride 2 spent more than two months tied-up in Douglas harbour, leaving its foreign crew stranded thousands of miles from home.

The tug sailed for Newlyn in Cornwall last month for repairs, but was detained along with a sister vessel by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency amid concerns neither boat was seaworthy.

The tugs vanished in the dead of night last weekend and their whereabouts are not known.

MCA sources are reported to be very concerned about the safety of the two crews as the boats were prohibited from setting sail having been deemed unsafe.

The welfare of the Georgian crew was the main concern of authorities in the Isle of Man when Juliet Pride 2 limped into Douglas harbour in mid December last year.

Local businesses and charities stepped in to provide money and food for the men who had not been paid by the boat's Nigerian owners.

The Isle of Man Ship Registry says the boat was not registered as a commercial vessel and there was no onus or entitlement for agencies here to carry out safety inspections.

However, the Juliet was deemed fit to sail across the Irish sea to the UK and after a replacement crew arrived and fees paid, the boat left on 22 February.

Both tugs vanished from UK detention on Sunday morning, thought bound for west Africa.

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