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#482578 - 01/11/14 03:47 AM Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”?
Marty Online   happy
Tonight, in an unusual - possibly unprecedented move, Government has taken possession of an international cargo vessel, the CFS Palencia. The reason? Well, because the ship's owners owe - we are told unofficially - almost ten million dollars in fines for another ship that rammed into Belize's reef.

That ship was the Paranga and in July of 2012, it ran aground 2 miles southeast of English Caye. Information at the time was that the Port Authority allowed the ship to leave based on certain assurances that it would return and settle any fines arising.

But, apparently it didn't - and so Government worked out a strategy to get its pound of flesh. The Palencia - which is owned by the same company visits Belize very regularly. And so government today got a court order signed by the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and went to the pier head at the Port of Belize this afternoon where the Palencia was unloading its cargo.

They gave a court order to the Port of Belize with instructions that the ship is to be piloted to a specific location with crew and cargo - and it will be held there under police and port guard until the ownership company make arrangements to settle the outstanding fine, which, we understand is 9.6 million dollars.

So, with that police boarded the vessel around 5:00 this evening to accompany it to that anchorage location. Due to the late breaking nature of the story, we could not reach Ports Commissioner Merlene Bailey Martinez.

If the name Palencia sounds familiar, it should. Last week the ship was in the news when the Port of Belize Crane fell on it.

Tonight, it remains anchored at a secure location, in what for the time being remains an indefinite stop. It had offloaded all its Belize Cargo, but the court order was delivered just as it was taking on cargo. We'll keep following the story.

Channel 7

#482627 - 01/11/14 09:59 AM Re: Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”? [Re: Marty]
Judyann H. Offline
This story is funny to me.....Maybe my odd sense of humor....or the Irony..However, it appears we accidentally damaged a ship we are holding in lieu of a fine that was imposed after the ship company accidentally damaged our reef.....Did I read this correctly? smile
My friends call me Judyann


#482739 - 01/11/14 10:26 PM Re: Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”? [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
Judy-Ann - you have company. I thought it very funny when the let the other ship leave with "I promise - I'll come back."
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

#482890 - 01/14/14 03:49 AM Re: Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”? [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

The Taking of the Palencia

Tonight the international Cargo vessel Palencia remains docked off Belize, under Port Guard. As we told you on Friday, Government seized the vessel when it landed at the Port of Belize to off load cargo on Friday. The reason is that the ship's owner owes a 9 plus million dollar fine for another ship that crashed into the reef two years ago. Today Government's attorney Denys Barrow explained how a ship can be arrested:..

Denys Barrow
"It is basic that you can acclaim against a ship that you can arrest the ship which has done damage which is to say, you make an application to the court and the court issues a warrant for the arrest of the ship. The object is that since the ship is the object that has caused the damage this ship stands liable to satisfy the claim for compensation for the damage. The ship therefore should not be permitted to leave the waters until proper arrangements in the form of security almost like bail is given for the ship to leave."

Jules Vasquez
"However the ship that incurs the liability, the Paranga has long since flown or sailed."

Denys Barrow
"There exists the concept of what is called the sister ship claimed which is to say, I love the metaphor that we have in Belize: if you can't catch Harry, you catch his shirt. There is a legal footing for this which is to say that if a ship has caused damaged, a claimant is entitle to arrest not that ship but a ship which is owned by the same company owned the ship which actually caused the damage."

Jules Vasquez
"Has the ship owner behaved in a dishonorable fashion or a less than desirable fashion?"

Denys Barrow
"When Paranga caused the damage Paranga was detained. The representatives, the local agents of Paranga bolstered by the then attorneys for Paranga give what was in effect an undertaking that they would return the Paranga and her captain here to face nay prosecution, any claims which the government may wish to bring against Paranga. Since Paranga left the port, it has never returned to these waters."

"Before arresting this ship Palencia, as recently as last month, I wrote to the then attorneys on record for Paranga at the time and for the ship owners now and suggested to them, look at this correspondence, a promise was made, give me now the name of somebody who will accept service of process. They said that they were not possess of any authorization to give the name of anybody to accept service which left the government with what option - arrest the ship. This was entirely avoidable, but if you want to play smart then you must pay the consequence."

"I am yet to hear from them, but we abiding our time, the ship is not going anywhere until they do the right thing."

In July 2012, the MV Paranga, ran aground 2 miles southeast of English Caye. The damage was calculated at five thousand dollars per square meter of the reef damaged. Like any arrestee, the ship will have to post bail to get free.

Channel 7

#483263 - 01/17/14 03:57 AM Re: Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”? [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

CFS Palencia Still Under Arrest: Causes Shipping Delays

Tomorrow will make it one week that the international Cargo vessel CFS Palencia has been anchored in Belize, under arrest as a sister ship to another that damaged the reef near English Caye and sailed out of Belize waters, on a false promise that it would return. But it never did, so now the government won't let the Palcencia go, until some commitment is made to pay the over 9 million dollar environmental fine arising from damage to the reef.

And while government seeks to vindicate its rights, the shipping industry is in a state. You see, the CFS Palencia is one of the ships that makes call in Belize almost every week bringing cargo out of Jamaica which originates in the far east, EUROPE, the Caribbean and Panama.

So right now none of those shipments - 120 of them - can come into Belize and are sitting at the port in Jamaica. And more than that, exports to those areas are also frozen - literally. We refer to 8 refrigerated 40 foot containers loaded on the ship which are Belize exports. They are citrus concentrate, shrimps and corn which were bound for Jamaica. They had already been loaded unto the ship when it was placed under arrest last week Friday at 3:30. They remain on the ship where it is under arrest in Belize waters, and no one can remove it. The ship also has its own containers bound for Honduras and Guatemala, which are also now stuck in transit.

And right now, according to our reports, the owners of the vessel who ultimately are liable for the fine, aren't talking to government. Seems they may be aware of the domestic pressures that may be brought to bear in view of the fact that a major shipping lane has been made inactive with consequential effects on trade.

A standoff at sea, and we'll keep watching to see who blinks first.

Channel 7

#483365 - 01/18/14 04:06 AM Re: Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”? [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

The Pressure Builds For The Palencia And Its Cargo

Tonight, makes it exactly one week since the international cargo vessel, the CFS Palencia has been under arrest, anchored and held in Belizean waters. Michael Young today confirmed that he has been retained as attorney for the ship owner, but he could not comment beyond that. But, from what we've been able to determine, there's been no progress in the standoff between Government, which has detained the ship and the owners. Caught in the middle are the Belizean importers and exporters, who depend on the ship's weekly route to and from Jamaica to move their shipments.

The ones feeling the pinch most acutely right now are the Belizean exporters who have 20 containers on board - not the eight we reported last night. Those 20 contain citrus concentrate, shrimps, corn, cornmeal and black-eyed peas.

Almost half of the containers, 9 of them to be exact are being exported by a Mennonite cooperative out of Spanish Lookout, named Bel-Car. CEO Otto Friesen told us that the products they have on the ship are valued at seven hundred thousand dollars. He says his company's buyers are getting impatient, and feed mills in Surinam and Guyana which depend on his corn to feed poultry operations are about to run out of feed. He says if his corn shipment doesn't go through, he'll lose the business. Friesen says if their shipments earn a reputation as being unreliable, his company stands to lose 5 million dollars in sales over the next six months.

Friesen says he's now seeing whether he can re-do another shipment through Miami - even as the pending shipment is stuck on the Palencia. But his case is just one of many others. The agent for the Palencia says there are over a hundred containers now stockpiled at the port in Jamaica awaiting shipment to Belize. The Palencia brings shipments from the far east, EUROPE, the Caribbean and Panama.

And while those delays are lamentable, Government's side of the story is compelling in its own right. The Palencia's sister ship, the Paranaga caused major damage to the reef near English Caye in 2012. It left on the commitment that the Captain and ship would return to settle the fine, but it never did. The fine is calculated at five thousand dollars per square meter for 1,800 square meters of damage.

Channel 7

#483810 - 01/23/14 06:26 AM Re: Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”? [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Palencia Owners Pay Fine, Gets Free

The Palencia is a free ship tonight, after being detained for 12 days by the government of Belize. Attorney for the Government Denys Barrow told us that he has asked the court to release the PALENCIA from arrest today because GOB and the insurers have settled the claims. The agreement is that the fine will be paid in to government in 14 days but it could be as early as this Friday.

And while the nominal value of the fine was over 9 million dollars, the final figure agreed to was US$1.35 million dollars. All things considered, that’s not too bad since government lost most of its leverage when the PARANGA was allowed to sail in July of 2012.

Right now the vessel is loading up with fuel and water and should be setting sail tonight.

Channel 7

#483815 - 01/23/14 07:01 AM Re: Gov't Takes International Cargo Vessel “Hostage”? [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
No, another ship in the fleet as owned by the Palencia, struck our reef and did millions of dollars in damage to the coral. We never have been paid, so GOB is holding this one till they receive compensation for outstanding fine. BUT, its holding up shipments and hurting local biz going both ways (BZ-Jamaica). So, who blinks first?
Belize based travel specialist


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