Sale of the Panos Earth


The bulk carrier “Panos Earth” laden with a cargo of 75 000 metric tonnes of iron ore shipped on the vessel at Boca Grande, Venezuela, for carriage and discharge at Shanghai, China. During the course of the voyage, the vessel broke down and was taken in tow by a local salvage operator and permission was then granted for the vessel to anchor in South African territorial waters (False Bay) to effect repairs and thereafter to recommence the voyage to China.

Once at anchorage, it transpired that the vessel was in state of disrepair and had not been properly maintained for a considerable period of time. The owner of the vessel failed to provide funds for urgent repairs required to the vessel and considerable holding costs accrued, for example wages due to the master, officers and crew, as to the salvage contractor which SAMSA (the South African Maritime Safety Authority) directed to remain on standby with one of its tugs until the situation with the casualty was resolved.

We assisted the master, officers and crew of the vessel, who effectively were incarcerated on the casualty and unable to have shore liberty, and advised them regarding the procedure for the sale of the vessel by the High Court, resolution of their wages and other claims, negotiating their early repatriation to their homes in Chile, Peru and Panama and generally, in conjunction with the ITF, looking after their interests.

We also advised and assisted local maritime service providers on their rights of recourse for outstanding monies owed by the ship owner to them, and finalised their claims lodged with the referee of the admiralty fund constituting the proceeds of the judicial sale of the vessel.

Panos Earth” anchored in South African territorial waters in False Bay

Alan Goldberg and salvage master Juan Killian on board the “Panos Earth”

En route by RIB (rubber inflatable boat) to the “Panos Earth”

RIB returning to Simon’s Town harbour after dropping representatives of our office, the ITF, the honorary consul of Chile and ITF inspector, Cassiem Augustus at the casualty anchored in False Bay

View of the forward deck of the “Panos Earth” taken from the master’s office

Salvage master Juan Killian, Alan Goldberg and the electrician of the vessel, Patricio Bocaz in discussion

Para-legal Lynne Gordon standing on deck next to the spare propeller of the vessel

Access to the “Panos Earth” was via pilot ladder off the stern deck of the vessel

Depending on weather and sea conditions, this was tricky at times

Repatriation of the crew took place in “batches” subject to the minimum safe manning requirements applicable

Crew departing from vessel en route to terra firma in Simon’s Town, and thereafter connecting with their air flights to South America

Almost on terra firma at last for batch of crew arriving at Simon’s Town en route to their homes.

Crew men displaying their air tickets and boarding passes at Cape Town International Airport