Russian tall ship rams 2 coast guard vessels in Reykjavik (VIDEO)

Barque Kruzenshtern (Krusenshtern) of Russia (Reuters / Ints Kalnins)
The world’s second largest sailing ship, Russia’s Krusenstern barque, has rammed two Iceland Coast Guard vessels in the port of Reykjavik, considerably damaging the deck of one of the vessels.

Local tugs were apparently a little over-enthusiastic while pulling the Russian ship on Thursday. The Krusenstern was preparing to head out of Reykjavik’s harbor, which required it to be turned around with the help of local tugs, according to TASS.

But due to an unsuccessful maneuver – reportedly a ruptured towing hawser – the Russian ship’s bowsprit collided with two coast guard ships, the Baltic State Academy of Fishing Fleet, Krusenstern’s owner, told the FlashNord news agency.

While nobody was injured in the incident and the Krusenstern herself only suffered minor damage, Iceland’s vessel, the ICGV Þór (Thor), was reportedly put out of commission. She sustained a hole of considerable size in her deck. The other boat’s signal mast received superficial damage. The Krusenstern has got full insurance, said her owner.

On Sunday the Krusenstern barque left the port of Reykjavik and headed out into the Norwegian Sea, the press-secretary of the Baltic Fishing Fleet State Academy, Irina Obraztsova, told RIA Novosti. She added that all issues related to the incident have been resolved.

The incident involved half of Iceland’s Coast Guard fleet, consisting of the Chilean-built ICGV Þór, the Danish-built ICGV Týr and ICGV Ægir and the Icelandic-built ICGV Baldur.

Although the tugging operation that reportedly led to the accident was performed by local tugs, Iceland’s naval command insists the Russian side should pay for the damage to the Coast Guard vessels. The Iceland Monitor reports the barque will remain in port while the damage is being assessed.

The Krusenstern is a four-masted barque built in 1926 at Geestemünde in Bremerhaven, Germany. Her first name was the Padua (after the Italian city). The Soviet Union received it as part of reparations in 1945 after WWII. The vessel was named after the early 19th century Baltic German explorer, Adam Johann Krusenstern (1770–1846).

The Krusenstern barque is one of the largest sailing ships in the world (114.5 meters) and since 1965 she has been used as a training ship for cadets from Russian naval colleges. The Krusenstern’s port of registration is Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave in Europe.

The vessel is at sea for most of the year. She has circumnavigated the globe twice, in 1995-1996 and 2005-2006.