Published On: Sat, Aug 25th, 2012

Curacao Ports Authority wants to sell Seamaster to cover costs

WILLEMSTAD  CPA has instituted legal proceedings against the owner of the Seamaster. “We want to obtain permission from the judge to sell the ship to recover the outstanding debts of the owners somewhat”, said CPA company lawyer Bertie Braam. Curaçao Port Authorities (CPA) placed a lean on the ‘Seamaster’ mid July. The motor vessel has been moored for almost two months at Caracas Bay without paying quay charges and security. The court was to pronounce judgment yesterday but this was adjourned to August 27th.

The ship that was once sailed to Curaçao as training ship had been moored in the St. Anna Bay for years and put under embargo for quite a while. The ship was given permission to sail to La Guaira, Venezuela on June 27th. However, shortly afterwards the ship ran aground near Aqualectra. The Seamaster was salvaged with the combined efforts of the Maritime Authority Curaçao (MAC), the Harbor Safety Inspection (HVI), divers from Miami Divers, CPA and KTK, thus preventing an oil-slick. This would have had serious consequences for the environment but also for the water and electricity supply of the island considering the Seamaster had run aground near the Aqualectra seawater installation. KTK had then taken the ship under tow to Caracas Bay. The tow costs alone amounted to 22,000 dollars. “The owners of the ship repeatedly neglected the agreements and hadn’t paid a penny. The costs for CPA and KTK have meanwhile run up to a considerable amount”, said Braam. It’s unclear who owns the ship that is represented by shipping agency Phoenix Trading. The owner of this company, Rivelino Marcano, is the suspect in the ongoing criminal investigation into the illegal trade in diesel from the ferry HSS Discovery. This ferry was also put under embargo a while ago. As a result both piers are occupied at Caracas Bay, causing a frown or two in the maritime world. According to well-informed sources, the owners of the ferry supposedly pay quay charges and the costs for security.

The quay charges are calculated on the basis of the Gross Tonnage (GT) of a ship whereby the proceeds are higher for the harbor authorities if a large ship is moored. The costs are running up because the owners of the Seamaster aren’t paying a penny. The outstanding costs for security and quay charges amount to approximately 200,000 guilders. “The ship is unmanned – the crew hasn’t been paid either by the way – and must be guarded around the clock to protect valuable material on board. Of course, we want the ship to yield as much as possible when it’s put up for sale”, said Braam. Only temporary repairs were made to the Seamaster that is listing slightly, and according to Braam, has to be pumped out every other day. He also refers to additional costs for CPA, namely for the HVI-inspectors who are to inspect the ship regularly in order to guarantee its safety.

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