Fears grow for crew onboard arrested pipelayer in Ghana

Conditions onboard an arrested pipelayer off Ghana have been labelled deplorable, with urgent calls to get the stranded crew off the ship and back home.

The 42-year-old Sea Horizon was arrested 10 months ago in Ghana after a Nigerian company, Fortune Global Shipping & Logistics, claimed it was owed $1.9m from another Nigerian company called Ranger Subsea in a complex case that has seen the vessel’s owner, Dallas-based WAG SPV I, launch its own legal action two months ago to try and get the ship back. The vessel has been anchored at a Ghanian naval base since December and conditions onboard have deteriorated dramatically as have supplies for the 13 crew onboard.

“The situation is currently unacceptable. You have a vessel that is without power, rotting food without refrigeration, and where owners are refusing to fund additional fuel for the generators,” Frank Coles, CEO of the ship’s management firm, Wallem, told Splash today, anxious to get the crew off the ship.

Coles claimed that the Ghanaian navy is holding the crew against their will in an act of “government piracy”.

The ship’s owner stopped paying Wallem and its crew from early June, according to Coles.

“This is a despicable situation that shows the gross disregard for human rights and humanitarian action on the part of most of the involved parties. The owners are an investment fund hiding behind a corporate veil, aided by their lawyers. They refuse to support the crew,” Coles said.

The case between WAG SPV I and Fortune Global is ongoing this month at a court in New York. Officials from WAG SPV I have yet to reply to questions sent by Splash earlier.

The Sea Horizon was acquired three years ago as a distressed asset from struggling Singapore offshore operator Swiber.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The CEO of Wallem’s now says owners are hiding under a corporate veil!
    Has he sued them. And where was the due diligence when taking the ship on management?

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