The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) on Monday began an investigation into the sinking of a general cargo ship that was set for scrapping.
Venezuela-flagged Alita had been at anchor off Colon near the Atlantic-side entrance of the Panama Canal since March 2015.
It apparently was struck by another ship that was attempting to drop anchor. The 4,250dwt Alita was holed at the waterline and partially sank, listing to 45 degrees with danger of capsizing.
The few crew members on board evacuated safely and there was no report of water pollution.
Venezuela Feeder Maritime of Puerto Cabello owns the Alita.