The Panama Maritime Authority has asked the U.S. Coast Guard, which provided a movie-worthy dramatic rescue of 34 crew members when SeaBreeze sank early last week 200 miles off the coast of Virginia, for assistance in determining the cause of the accident. The ship, on its way from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Charleston, South Carolina for repairs, was part of the now-defunct Premier fleet that was repossessed by its lenders in September.
Panama ostensibly is responsible for carrying out (and funding) the investigation because the ship sailed under its jurisdiction. But a Coast Guard spokesman says that, aside from the costly rescue effort, which it will absorb -- "that's our mission" --- they will pitch in. "Our folks are as interested in the cause as anyone else. We want to see the results of the investigation too."