16,000-ton Russian cargo ship freed after becoming stranded at Gylly Beach

Written by Ivan Edwards |

Russian ship Kuzma Munin stranded in Falmouth
Photo: Connor John Walker

The 16,000-ton cargo ship which ran aground in Falmouth on Tuesday morning has been freed after intense rescue efforts.

The Russian ship had just left Falmouth Harbour before becoming stranded less than 100ft from the popular Gyllyngvase Beach, amid stormy conditions. There are 18 crew members on board, but no cargo. Tugboats and helicopters arrived at the scene to rescue the crew and release the ship.

Emergency services were first called at 6am, before the boat was finally released at around 2pm.

Eyewitness Connor John Walker saw the rescue efforts and was surprised at how close the ship was to the beach. He told The Falmouth Anchor: “You know the rocks [on Gylly Beach] that go quite far out when the tide’s low? It was literally just in front of those… I’d never seen a ship that big, I didn’t even know they were that big.”

Walker added that the weather was “absolutely horrid”.

“The wind was just blowing us all over the place. It’s a good job my phone is waterproof because it was that wet it would’ve broken my phone if it wasn’t waterproof.”

VIDEO: Tugboats attempt to rescue the ship amid stormy conditions

Video: Connor John Walker

Many local residents came to watch the rescue efforts. Walker says “There was loads of traffic, it was crazy, like the busiest I’ve seen it… I imagine everybody that was there was there to see the ship.”

Since the incident, business has been booming at the Gylly Beach Cafe, which overlooks the beach where the ship ran aground, where staff may have come in to work expecting a quiet day’s work on a cold and rainy Tuesday.

Gyllyngvase Beach and Gylly Beach Cafe. Photo: Jürgen Regel

The manager of the restaurant told us: “It’s been incredibly busy today. I would say it was comparatively as busy as a very sunny bank holiday in August.

“I think initially, around the seven till ten-ish period I think they were trying to cordon off bits of the beach. But once they knew [the ship] wasn’t going to wash up ashore, the beach got very busy.”

But the events today cap off a torrid year for the 600ft-long ship, named Kuzma Munin, and its crew.

The ship had been held at the port of Terneuzen, Netherlands, from May to December this year, unable to leave because its operator, the Murmansk Shipping Company, is severely indebted, according to Dutch Media. Dutch newspaper Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant reported that Terneuzen locals donated supplies to the beleagured crew members, who faced food and fuel shortages and were unable to leave the ship.

The thirty-eight-year-old ship was finally allowed to leave the Netherlands after seven months on 6 December, before running aground less than two weeks later.