The 18-member crew of the bulk carrier Agatis, who have been stranded in Barranquilla, Colombia for more than three months, have returned to Cristobal, Panama, the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) said.
Namely, the Panamanian-flagged carrier was abandoned by its owner, Indonesian bulk operator Meranti Bahari, after the company refused to pay the crew.
As the state flag of the vessel, Panama is responsible for the repatriation of the crew, and the eighteen people, all of Indian nationality, are now expected to be repatriated to Mumbai and New Delhi in India. Given that Panama has no jurisdiction over Colombian waters, the two countries agreed that the 1996-built bulker be sent to Panama.
AMP said that it will pay for the repatriation, which will reach an amount of USD 42,000.
Panama Maritime Authority added that it is pursuing legal action against the shipowner in the country’s maritime courts.
Due to a tough dry bulk market, Meranti Bahari, the owner of six bulkers, in December 2015 said it will undergo restructuring to deal with its debts.
World Maritime News Staff