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Hapag Boxship Arrives in Algeciras Missing its Captain 

captain missing from Hapag containership
Algeciras Express was held offshore until a new captain could board the ship (Twitter)

Published Jul 12, 2022 3:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

Spanish authorities are investigating the mysterious disappearance of the captain of a containership that arrived late last week at the Port of Algeciras. 

The 50,789 dwt Algeciras Express departed from the port of Yalova on the Sea of Marmara south of Istanbul on June 30. La Guardia Civil de Algeciras reports that four days later on July 3 they were notified by the first officer of the vessel that their captain was missing. The crew searched the vessel and reported that the captain could not be located.

The Algeciras Express arrived at the Port of Algeciras on July 7, but the authorities ordered the vessel to anchor offshore until a new captain arrived to take command of the vessel. Reports indicated that the port was requiring a captain to be aboard to oversee the maneuvering into the dock.

The vessel is operating under charter to Hapag-Lloyd. Reports indicated that Hapag arranged for a Ukrainian captain to fly to the port and join the ship. The vessel was permitted to proceed to the dock on July 10.

Once alongside, the police boarded the ship and began interviewing the first officer and other members of the 28-person crew. The police also searched the ship and entered the captain’s cabin. Local media indicated that the cabin was found to be in good condition and there was even a navigation plan prepared by the captain for July 4. However, they were unable to locate any signs of the captain or any signs of a struggle. Nothing appeared abnormal aboard the vessel.

The Spanish authorities have advised Liberia as the flag state for the vessel and also have been in contact with the Philippines as the unnamed captain was reported to be a Philippine citizen. Spanish authorities have officially listed the captain as a missing person.

The Algeciras Express appears to have been traveling with only a few containers when it arrived but was permitted to complete its normal container handling on Sunday in the port. On Monday, it remained anchored off Algeciras, but it has now been released by the Spanish authorities and is proceeding to Tanger-Med, Morocco.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly named Seaspan as the owner of Algeciras Express. The vessel has been owned by a different company since May 2022.