Interpol seeking crew

Interpol are seeking information about a 60-foot long ‘Mary Celeste’-style vessel found adrift in the channel.

Fisherman Chris Mowlam towed the deserted ship back to Poole Quay and found out the authorities are ‘very interested’ in the vessel.

The ship called Ditte Calpan, was owned by a Norwegian firm but was sold to a Nigerian company and the last time it was spotted it was being towed out of a Dutch port by a fishing vessel.

Dorset Police were due to inspect the ship yesterday and Chris said the coastguard reported it was known to the authorities.

“Interpol are interested in it now,” said Chris. “It’s a bit of a Mary Celeste.”

Crab and lobster fisherman Chris, 41, found it around 30 miles south of the Isle of Wight in the middle of the shipping lanes.

Crewman Mark Lilley, 42, braved dangerous sea swells to clamber on board and found a parted towing chain.

“I thought there might be illegal immigrants aboard,” he said.

Chris used his smaller 700hp boat to tow her home and contacted the coastguard, and found out the ship had a ‘chequered past’.

The bridge and crew area were empty apart from a couple of battered radios and some furniture and the ship appeared to have been built to transport diesel.

The windows were closed up with metal sheets in line with normal towing procedure – and one of four holds were welded shut.

Mark said of the find: “I have been fishing for 25 years and I have never come across anything like this,” he told the Bournemouth Echo.

If no-one claims it in a year the ship will be worth around £20,000 to Chris. And if it is claimed Chris would be entitled to one third of the value.

The boat is not in a good condition but appears in a salvageable condition although an Ultrasound scan of the hull would be needed.

The Volvo engine appeared to be in working order but could not be turned on without a key.

Danish shipping records show it was involved in a collision near Copenhagen in 1978.