Welcome aboard the RMS Mulheim. She ran aground at Lands End in March 2003 in flat calm seas. The captain was apparently unconscious on the floor of the bridge at the time, having hit his head on something......a bottle? The official report reads:- The ship ran aground in Gamper Bay near Sennen Cove on 22 March. The vessel was badly holed and approximately 75 t of diesel spilled out of its fuel tanks. The Chief Officer of the RMS Mulheim was alone on the bridge at night on the 24 March 2003 when he became unconscious. This incapacity went undiscovered until the vessel ran aground in Sennen Cove, Cornwall. Attempts to salvage the vessel failed and the wreck of the vessel remains there to this day. Following assessments and site visits by the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime salvage and International (SOSREP) salvagers and owners representatives it was concluded that the vessel was too badly damaged to be refloated. Furthermore, it was decided that safety implications outweighed environmental impacts and the wreck was left in situ to be broken up by wave action. Small quantities of plastic were recovered by clean-up teams patrolling amenity beaches up to 60 km away from the wreck Small quantities of remaining pollutants including engine room diesel and lubricating oils, batteries and containers of paint were removed from the wreck by 31 March. The removal of the cargo of 2,200 t of shredded plastics proved to be a more difficult operation. An initial attempt employing a jack-up rig next to wreck was abandoned due to heavy seas. However, an alternative approach using a conveyor method linking with the cliff tops 60 m above was successful. By 29 May the cargo removal operation was abandoned with only 10 to 15 t remaining because the vessel had become highly unstable. The total cost of the salvage operation was nearly £2 million. Camborne Magistrates fined Rhein Maas Shipping (RMS) a total of £20,000 plus full costs of £22,227.06.
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