The Danish authorities intend to tow Russia's grounded Duncan schooner into the Kalundborg sea-port at their own expense, also providing all necessary technical assistance. This was disclosed to RIA Novosti over the phone today by Alexander Kopnin, who heads the consular department at the Russian Embassy in Denmark, after negotiations with the local Danish authorities and representatives of the Kalundborg sea-port wound up.
Commenting on reports to the effect that the schooner was swamped by a tide, Kopnin noted that he and representatives of the local authorities had visited and inspected her. The Duncan has run hard aground; and her cargo hold is filled with water, Kopnin stressed. In his words, the schooner presents no environmental hazard whatsoever.
For his own part, Duncan's captain Valentin Syromyatnikov re-enacted the incident, informing RIA Novosti over the phone that the ship had encountered a severe storm, eventually casting anchor, contacting Kalundborg and requesting permission to enter the port. However, pre-payment talks dragged on and on through the fault of the Danish authorities. The schooner then ran aground, with water rushing into the cargo hold proper. Local residents, who were outraged over official red tape, subsequently offered shelter to the Duncan's three-man crew.
We spent the night at a house belonging to the Danish opera theatre's double-bass player, Syromyatnikov noted.
Quite possibly, they will start towing the schooner when the wind abates, Syromyatnikov went on to say. All water will have to be pumped out and the ship inspected for possible damage.
Captain Syromyatnikov's expedition, which began four years ago, is dedicated to the 300-th anniversary of the Russian Navy.
The really unique Duncan, which was built in 1901 at Finland's Pavel Val & Co. ship-yard, is the only surviving member of a family of four Russian ships that had plied the seas around Europe. Incidentally, the world now has only about 80 Duncan-class ships.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club that Russia will never initiate military actions, including with the use of nuclear weapons