Three ships which are anchored off the North East coast are showing no signs of leaving – two months after first sailing in.
The bulk carriers have been stationed off the coast of Tynemouth since early July, and are waiting to be auctioned off.
The ships have just come out of dry dock and are waiting to be auctionedMichael Groark
All three of them have been inspected at the Port of Tyne and checked over for welfare, conditions and the pay of the crew.
They have passed all inspections, with the ships owned by Belgian company Sobelmar and currently run by India-based Bernhard Schulte Ship Management.
Michael Groark, surveyor in charge of Maritime Coastguard Agency, said: “The ships have just come out of dry dock and are waiting to be auctioned.
“Each individual vessel has been into the Port of Tyne over the course of the last two months.
“The Seafarers Union have also been on board the vessels to inspect them for welfare, conditions and pay.
“There were one or two minor problems, but nothing we wouldn’t have expected on any other vessel.”
The ships – called the Vyritsa, Brasschaat and Zarechensk – are just outside the Port of Tyne’s jurisdiction,
Mr Groark added: “The reason they’re not in the Port of Tyne is because it costs a lot of money and because of the unknown circumstances, the Port don’t want them to come in because they are not doing anything.
“The majority of the crew are from Eastern Europe and none have reported any concern with repatriation.
“They’re burning the correct grade of fuel, have plenty of fresh water and the crew can go home when they need to.”