Vessel refused shelter after local boats block entry

Self-discharging bulk carrier CSL Tarantau (IMO 9600982) was unable to dock at Puerto Punta Rincón Coal Terminal, Panama, with a cargo of coal on board, after local boats blocked access, Canadian miner First Quantum said on Friday November 17th.

In recent weeks protests have in escalated against the miner’s contract for a major copper mine operated by the company’s local unit, known as Minera Panama. The CSL Tarantau had remained for several days in Panamanian waters without being able to reach the port due to protests. On Thursday the captain was forced to call the authorities because the ship needed to dock urgently, First Quantum said, adding that “the illegal actions carried out by small vessels in the port of Punta Rincon have affected the delivery of supplies that are required by Minera Panama, including for energy generation”.

The company said “the ship fully complies with all international safety regulations and its crew is safe.”

Earlier in the week First Quantum had reported that the protests blocking the port had reduced ore processing at its Cobre Panama mine. This was the first indication that the mine’s output was at risk. On Thursday the union for Minera Panama said it had reached an agreement with the company to ensure worker pay. The protests had kept some workers from reaching their jobs.

The protests began after the Panamanian government and First Quantum signed a new contract on October 20th for Cobre Panama, which contributes 5% to Panama’s gross domestic product. However, the demonstrators say the new terms are too generous to First Quantum.

The vessel has 24 crew on board.

The ship arrived in Colon waters on November 1st, from Colombia, and since then it had been in a holding pattern off the Colon coast.

2013-built, Bahamas-flagged, 43,691 gt CSL Tarantau is owned by Hull 2227 Shipping Ltd care of CSL Australia Pty Ltd of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is managed by CSL Americas of Middleton, Massachusetts, USA, and ISM managed by V Ships USA LLC Boston of the same address. It is entered with Britannia on behalf of Hull 2227 Shipping Ltd.

As of November 18th the vessel was listed as underway off the eastern coast of Central America, but with an unclear destination, so apparently it was still awaiting somewhere to offer it shelter.