3 cargo ships still arrested at Terminal Island

Maritime attorney: Crew hasn't been paid for months

MIAMI - Three cargo ships remained at Terminal Island Friday after they were seized and detained by U.S. Marshals because their management company defaulted on its loans.

"The technical term is 'been arrested.' The owner of the vessel has failed to pay the mortgage and the bank arrested the ship," said maritime attorney Ross Toyne.

The Nera II was arrested at the Bernuth Agencies cargo facility in March. The Caribbean Jade and Bernuth Calypso were arrested in December 2012.

"The crew [of the Bernuth Calypso] hasn't been paid either. They had two to three months of unpaid wages. It seems like one month may have already been paid to them, but we can't get the precise information because the ships owner won't let us go onto the ship," said Toyne.

About $27,000 hasn't been paid to a dozen cargo members, said Toyne, leaving the crew of the Calypso in limbo.

Toyne tried boarding the ship but was denied access to the crew.

Deacon Ronald Perkins was also denied. He is the chaplain of Seafarers' House, an organization that helps international shipping crews.

"I have no idea what the conditions are aboard that vessel or the safety and security of those seafarers," said Perkins. "I have never, ever, ever been denied access to a dock or a vessel and I go on a thousand ships a year."

Mikhail Shikera, the captain of the Calypso, had little to say when he spoke with Local 10.

"Why aren't you paying your crew?" asked Local 10's Todd Tongen.

"I am not authorized to give any comments prior to [the] owner's decision," Shikera answered.

"Why won't you let this priest make a welfare visit to your crew?" said Tongen.

"No, I don't know why," said Shikera.

The Coast Guard intervened, allowing Perkins to check on the crew. He said they appeared to be in good health.

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