Just six miles off the coast of Tybee Island is an abandoned ship with its crew still on board.
The boat has been anchored at sea for months after the company that owned the vessel defaulted on the loan.
The Newlead Castellano was arrested by U.S. Marshalls when it was making a sugar delivery at Imperial Sugar on April 19. Similar to what happens when a bank forecloses on a home if a company doesn’t make payments on their vessel, the creditor then repossesses the ship.
According to an attorney on this case, the company in default is Newlead, a Greek company that deals with dry bulk commodities. Officials said Newlead had not only stopped making payments on the ship, but they also stopped paying its crew.
This multimillion-dollar vessel will soon be sold on the steps of the federal courthouse, but until then this Filipino crew is not allowed to come to the mainland because they don’t have the legal documentation, and this vessel must remain anchored in the channel.
“You know, in my 16-year career practicing maritime law here in Savannah, I’ve only had this on one other occasion where the vessel owner has essentially abandoned the ship and we’ve had to actually sell the vessel at auction,” said attorney Todd Baiad. “This is not a typical situation that you would see.”
“We could not avoid these things that happen,” said Captain Reynaldo Alcuizar.
“Everybody thinks that a sailor’s life is great,” said Gerard LoPreiato of the National Maritime Service. “It is when things run right.”
The ship was arrested in April after a Greek company defaulted on its loan. Similar to a home foreclosure, this vessel will be sold at auction. The only difference is, this ship comes with a crew of 15 Filipino sailors, and they are just as anchored as this ship is until there is a new owner.
Making more waves than this vessel has in months, the people at Hogan’s Marina took WTOC out to the crew, where we climbed aboard this vessel where life seems to be in limbo.