Crew Stranded as Vessel Operator Goes Bankrupt
The Port Authority of Tampico, Mexico is holding the geared general cargo ship Yacu Kallpa on allegations that her crew have not been paid, says port manager Armando Mendez Reyes.
He told Hoya Tamaulipas that the vessel's six Peruvian crew are owed for wages and food, and under Mexican law the vessel cannot be released until they have been properly compensated.
Crewmembers Rolando Barajas, Luis Alberto Velazquez Tito, Wilber Alberto Correa Sandoval told media that they have run out of supplies and that the vessel is in deplorable condition. They have reportedly been stranded on the vessel for nearly a month.
Two crewmembers have been repatriated due to illness, port manager Reyes said. The remaining crew are free to go, he added; the vessel's cargo allegedly contains illegal timber, but he said that the crew are not party to those charges.
Peruvian authorities have reportedly been tracking the vessel and attempting to halt the wood shipment, which was allegedly harvested in a protected area of the Peruvian Amazon.
The 20,000 dwt Yacu Kallpa (ex name Marcomanche) is presently listed for sale on NautiSNP Ship Sale & Purchase, with an asking price of $4 million.
Media sources suggest that her owner, Peruvian Amazon Line subsidiary Yacu Taski, is expected to declare bankruptcy shortly. The Kallpa is the firm's only listed vessel.
U.S. Customs officials at the Port of Houston, Texas have “excluded” 71 shipping containers of allegedly illegally harvested Amazonian timber delivered by the Kallpa since September, the Houston Chronicle reported late last year; no charges have been filed in the case, but the shipment has been prohibited from entering the U.S. Roberto Melgar, managing director for Peruvian Amazon Line, told the Chronicle that the holdup had brought further wood shipment bookings on the Kallpa down to one tenth of the usual volume.