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What does it take to be a good captain anyway? Part III

Back in May, I put up a couple of posts regarding what it takes to be a captain. Maybe now some people are starting to figure out why. 🙂

Here are the links in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about:

First post Second Post

More than anything else, these posts were just for my own “therapy”, while projecting my own thoughts about a particular subject that was raised to me. I was also dealing with the situation that I’m about to talk about, in this latest installment. 

So, as many people out here may know by now, there is some particularly vocal discourse going on right now by Andiamo’s former “captain”, Fabio Brunazzi. 

At this point, let me just say that this is FAR from the worst  thing that has been happening with Andiamo. Trust me, you don’t know the half of it, and it’s the stuff novels are made of. Or, at the very least, bad reality shows. 

Since I’ve been the minority owner for quite some time now, and been essentially staying out of Panama as much as humanly possible, I haven’t had the kind of control I used to have, obviously. I placed my trust in some key people to keep things going smoothly without me. Instead, things have unfortunately gone rapidly awry in the operation of Andiamo in recent months. So much so, I found myself needing to step back even further, and disconnecting from the business and the situation (I posted about that here) even more. This fallout has far more to do with the majority owners and management than anything else. That story will be told in due time (and soon). It will, indeed. 

But for now, I shall deal with Fabio’s rather public declarations. 

This morning, I received an email that Fabio sent out, along with a PDF file of another letter. It’s a long, winding diatribe. He makes quite a few wildly inaccurate allegations, which he knows are not true. In any case, I will state my response, and everyone else can make their own determinations. Anyone who knows me, knows I am not one to mince words, or sugar-coat things. I’ll tell it like it is.

Much of the horrible stuff happening behind the scenes of Andiamo, are mostly having to do with the conduct of a certain person. Who, incidentally is named many times in the discussion I have with Fabio below. There is much more that will be coming out, particularly since it’s clear that Andiamo’s glory days are indeed over. This is thanks to an incredible amount of horrific misconduct and malfeasance.

As I was joking to Lena the other day, it appears to be ending like a tragic opera, where “everybody dies”. 😛

Anyway, as I’m sure this is going to make for a lot of conjecture, speculation, and discontent, my goal is to spell things out as clearly and truly as possible. 

First, the email:

From: fabio brunazzi []
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:11 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Witholding of wages from Andiamo

Dear friend,

I’m sorry for taking some of your time for an unpleasant situation but I need to make it public because it is serious.

As you probably already know I intended to leave Andiamo but the last thing I thought it was I had to leave Panama in such a bad situation.

I left Panama on 22nd May and to date I still haven’t been paid a total of 6200$ from my wages. It is extremely long and complex to explain the facts and that’s why I prepared a memorandum where I explained exactly what happened and I am using all the documentation to make a legal process and put some pressure on Andiamo in order to have this payment done.

The company Andiamo Ventures Inc. also owes money to Dino and the last captain (who obviously already left).

I am feeling pretty sad and ashamed about all this situation, I am asking your help for any advice that can unlock this situation, or if you are a member of the Facebook page to make just post some messages on it.

I feel I don’t really have any option


Fabio Brunazzi

Then the PDF that was attached to the email, which is what I will respond to:

Memorandum To: Whom it May Concern

From: Fabio Brunazzi

Date: May 27, 2012

Re: Withheld Wages of Fabio Brunazzi by Anthony O Santos

Fabio has been working for Andiamo Ventures, Inc. since his first day of employment. Not me personally. He was told of the recent change of ownership by me before he left Italy. Whenever he was paid via paypal, it was by the corporation from its paypal account. Just to clarify, because before he even starts on his “memorandum” he is already not telling the truth about the status of his “employment”.

The purpose of the memo is to summarize the terms of employment and facts preceding the withholding of $8,648.00 in wages for my work aboard the SV Andiamo, owned by Anthony Santos and Pedro Jose Camposeco Longo.

Again, the corporation is Andiamo Ventures, Inc, which is a completely separate legal entity. I am a minority shareholder of this corporation. 

Terms of Employment I was offered the job on the boat Andiamo (Official number 1124709) US Flagged recreational endorsed sailyacht by her managing owner Anthony O Santos, US Citizen, via web contact in June 2011.

The job was to be the skipper of the boat and run trips with paying guests in the San Blas area of Panama. Santos never offered me a contract but the terms of employment were described in an email exchange and after a quick meeting in Italy.

Fabio fails to mention a couple of pretty important details. He also makes it sound like he was hired on the basis of just emailing and “quick meeting” in Italy. Wrong. We spent HOURS on skype discussing the job and all the little details about it in the interim. He conveniently forgets the amount of interviewing and discussion that went into hiring him.

On the initial email outlining the job, I clearly state in his question about his “duties”:

“- Which are my duties?

Well, I think the duties are pretty obvious. The person who takes this position will be captain of the boat and run the trips in and around San Blas. He’ll’ll be responsible for managing and maintaining the boat and all equipment. Our trip manager, Mitzy will handle all the guest administration, provisioning and other logistics from Panama City. I have a more detailed email about what the job entails which I’ll send you if you are offered the position.”

Fabio makes it sound on his version that the “skipper’s” (I like the way he doesn’t like to use the word “captain” anymore, guess it doesn’t fit?)’ job was just to do the trips and little if anything else. He clearly downplays the fact that it was expected for him to be responsible for maintaining and managing the boat. That’s a pretty important part of a captain job in an area where there are no marinas, chandleries or marine services of any kind. Being able to manage and maintain a heavily used boat is pretty important, and it’s the captain’s job to see that it’s done. 

As for a contract, we spoke about a contract during one of our skype interviews. Fabio asked about the possibility of a contract, and I told him that drawing one up to outline the terms of the employment wasn’t a problem, however, the problem was jurisdiction of any “contract”. Since Andiamo is a US-flagged boat operating in Panama, and Fabio is an Italian citizen, this leaves much in the way of legalities and ambiguities when it comes to an “enforceable” contract. I told him if he wanted to draw one up for his own peace of mind, that was fine, just to keep it simple and straightforward, and we’ll get it to where it’s good for both sides. He never did. 

The deal is documented on the email (Attachment 1) and my wages were to be 150$ per trip night. These wages were to be paid every two weeks. Change in Payment Method The wages were paid to my Paypal account with regularity until November 2011 when Santos communicated to me that the payment on Paypal was not possible anymore and since then I started to be paid in cash (Attachment 2).

Again, not true. I NEVER told Fabio that he would only be paid via Paypal. I told him that we would pay him via Paypal as much as possible. Otherwise, he would be paid in cash.

Due to the fact that we receive payments for our trips in cash, travelers’ checks and via paypal (which is mostly for just the deposits), there is no way in hell I could have said to him that he would only be paid via Paypal. And it doesn’t even say that in the attachment he labels as “deal”. Fabio makes it sound on his diatribe like we only communicated via email.

We spent HOURS on skype discussing and interviewing, then I spent 2 days in Milan meeting with him before he left for Panama! We discussed most of the specifics and the nuances of the job via that mode, not email. He knows this. And even though I made a great effort to see that he was paid via Paypal, he did get paid in cash on several occasions prior to November 2011. 

This arrangement was not discussed with me, and safely holding and handling this cash payment while working in a remote area offshore was an immediate problem.

Yes, it was. It was discussed with him both before and during his employment that he may need to be paid in cash at times, on SEVERAL occasions. And San Blas is HARDLY a “remote area offshore”. Remote? Only slightly, it’s also 2 1/2 hours by car from Panama City, which has a wide array of banks and financial services such as Western Union, Moneygram and American Express available. Whenever he did get paid in cash, it was in the CITY. So he was more than able to handle the cash, put it in a bank, whatever he wanted to do while he was there. So it was hardly an “immediate problem”, and Fabio knows he’s being incredibly inaccurate here.  

Mitzy Camposeco Longo, Guatemalan citizen, working in Panama City for Santos as Manager of Operations of Andiamo’s business, accepted the responsibility of holding my wages, assuring me they would be kept it in a safe in Panama City, and I would be able to retrieve them whenever I wanted.

Mitzy is a minority owner and the tour manager for Andiamo Ventures, Inc. There is much to say about her, but that will be another time, another post.

Again, Fabio is trying to make it sound like Mitzy worked for me. She didn’t. He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between working for a corporation, and working for an individual. As for he leaving cash with Mitzy to “hold” for him. This was his own decision, and it was a dumb one to be frank. Especially when you consider that he had a myriad of ways to safely keep or send the cash to wherever he wanted. At the very least, he could have bought a prepaid debit card and loaded the funds into that. Which is something I recommended he do on SEVERAL occasions. So for him to just let Mitzy hold his cash was a really bad and unnecessary choice.  

In fact, Fabio never even told me that he was leaving cash for Mitzy to hold for him. Had he told me, I would have highly recommended that he not do that, as we can’t take responsibility for anything that happens to his cash after it’s already been paid to him. Fabio, to this day, refuses to acknowledge responsibility for him turning over his already-paid cash to Mitzy to “hold” for him, and somehow tries to make ME responsible for it. Even though, I: A. Wasn’t even in Panama most of the time he was working for Andiamo, and B. Never told that he was having Mitzy hold thousands of dollars of HIS cash. And now, he wants to hold me responsible?? Outrageous. 

Since I spent the majority of my time on the boat, it seemed a workable short-term solution to leave my wages in the possession of Andiamo staff, with the assurance that it would be held separately from the company’s finances.

How does he know that? His “cash” was never accounted for in anyway. He didn’t even have the common sense to ask Mitzy for some kind of receipt that showed EXACTLY how much money he had in her care!  

He never mentioned anything to anyone about his “held” cash to anyone other than Mitzy. He certainly didn’t tell me anything about it. So how does he know how or where the cash was held? The fact is that he didn’t. He just assumed that Mitzy would hold the cash for him and if anything happened to it, he would not be responsible.

I find it incredibly strange that anyone would even want to give money that they were paid by their employer, BACK to their employer for ANY REASON, even just to hold it. Who does that?  

And again, had Fabio even said it to me once that cash of his was being held within the business in ANY way, I would have sternly suggested that he NOT do that. And for a variety of reasons!

Problems Retrieving Wages On 3rd March 2012 Mitzy was asked to give $1500.00 of my wages to my parents during a visit to Panama, but she never went to the meeting, and they had to leave without retrieving the funds before their flight back to Italy. As of 8th March 2012 Andiamo was in possession of $4250.00 of my wages, corresponding to 33 nights of trips, minus expenses.

No, Mitzy was in possession of the cash, NOT Andiamo Ventures. Do we see where this is all going yet? And while Fabio is quick to name me as the person who is supposed to be “responsible”, he fails to mention that I’m not even IN Panama when this occurred. 

On 2nd May 2012 Mitzy gave me a check and also told me she would have been able to do a direct transfer to my Italian bank account for that amount. I kept the check (see attachment 3) but preferred the latter solution and told her to proceed.

Again, I had NO knowledge of any of this, and I wasn’t even in Panama. On several occasions, I asked Fabio for details on this when he mentioned a check to me once on an email, and interestingly, Fabio didn’t even reply to me about it. When he did finally email me about what he was suspecting to be a fraud with a check, it was so vague and convoluted, I had to ask him again about it and to be more clear and specific. He didn’t answer. 

On 14th May 2012 Mitzy wrote that the wire transfer was sent and attached a receipt (Attachment 4).

Again, no knowledge AT ALL of this, until well after the fact when this happened, and for the record, I was already in Europe as of late April. 

On Friday 18th May 2012, I checked with my bank to find that the transfer did not go through.

Misplaced Wages and Fraud I investigated the transfer, using the receipt that Mitzy had sent me, and discovered it was a fraud. Rolando Garcia de Paredes, an employee of the Fraud Department at Best Safety Boxes, the that was intended to use for the transfer, explained that somebody had in fact used a similarly-named web-based service and counterfeit the name of an employee and that was actually a scam (Attachment 5). I then brought this information to Mitzy who said that she had actually delegated the task of doing the transfer to yet another person, Jorge Diaz Fuentes.

My last stressful days in Panama were spent trying to meet with this Mr. Fuentes, being promised a cash payment from Mitzy, and finally being provided a credit card that I was told would be credited the amount I was owed (attachment 6). None of these efforts came to fruition and I was forced to leave Panama without these wages. The credit card resulted not working or not having funds when I tried it in two different ATMs in New York City on 23rd May 2012.

So even by Fabio’s own account, and my supporting statements, is it made CLEAR that Fabio was dealing STRICTLY with Mitzy in this matter. And yet, he tries to lump me into the situation with some pretty egregious ambiguities and misstatements. While I’m not happy at all about what happened regarding this situation, it’s ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that what happened was between him and Mitzy. Not between him and me, or even the corporation. 

Additional Wages Withheld A second and final payment of $4498.00 was to be made at some point after the first payment was complete and after I had trained the new captain (Attachment 6). Santos refused to give me any additional information about that payment when repeatedly asked.

First of all, let’s remember that I know NOTHING about Fabio giving Mitzy back some $3500 or so of his salary which he had already been paid via cash BACK to Mitzy to hold for him. At this point, the only thing I’m responsible is for the transition of the boat from Fabio to Robert, and to evaluate Fabio’s overall management of Andiamo to make recommendations regarding anything he was or is liable for. As the only experienced captain-owner in the business, this responsibility was obviously placed on me. 

Second of all, I told Fabio that his final pay would be paid on his departure and after satisfactory completion of the transition to the next captain. This is the reason he didn’t get paid during the month of April, and I made this clear to him at the time I hired Robert. 

Before leaving Panama in early April, I went to the boat to inspect her, and check out her overall state. I was INCREDIBLY disappointed at how badly Fabio had been keeping up the boat. I was last on the boat in November of 2011, and we had spent a solid 3 days aboard doing tons of maintenance and upkeep, along with my mechanic friend, Sonnie. There were several major discussions about boat issues and how it was incumbent on Fabio to stay on top of the boat and maintain her properly. Even earlier, when I was in Panama in September, Fabio and I had a long discussion about his passivity, and inability to become pro-active and engage on the boat and her maintenance. A boat like Andiamo, as busy as she was, NEEDS TO BE MAINTAINED ACTIVELY. This means staying on top of potential issues and avoiding problems before they become major problems. Any captain knows this.

Incidentally, Fabio had already had a MAJOR boat gaffe in October 2011, a mere 2 1/2 months after he started. Which, interestingly, I find he conveniently leaves out his very detailed diatribe.

During a trip, he left the engine’s raw water intake valve open after shutting the engine down. It’s supposed to be shut immediately after the engine is turned off. This is a safety measure to prevent the engine from siphoning seawater into the exhaust manifold, thus filling the engine with seawater.

This particular time that Fabio didn’t shut the valve, the engine did just that. It filled with seawater, became hydrolocked (as in seized up), and he couldn’t get it turning again. He ended up having to sail back to Carti without the motor. Not the safest thing to do. 

We ended up having to fly Sonnie, our mechanic in on an emergency from Bocas del Toro. It was only because of his quick action, and my insistence via phone and skype that they remove the cylinder head and bang the pistons loose, that real disaster was averted. The entire ordeal was because Fabio FORGOT to close a valve that he KNEW was critical to keep closed when the engine was not in operation.

In the end, Andiamo had to pay well over $1000 to get the engine back to operational condition after that fiasco. Luckily, we had no trips scheduled that we would have lost due to the engine being inoperative. I was in Florida at the time of all this, and actively involved in the repair situation, ordering parts, etc.

When I got back to Panama a couple of weeks later, we had a meeting at the apartment in Panama City. I told Fabio that what happened with this engine fiasco was absolutely unacceptable, and it should never have happened. I also explained to him how LUCKY he was that the engine was able to get freed up without a rebuild.

I had to go through TWO rebuilds in Colombia a few years ago, and I can tell you, it’s expensive, and EXTREMELY unpleasant. Despite the egregious expense that he caused the boat, I gave him a pass. I told him that because we didn’t lose a trip over it, we’ll absorb the cost for the repair. I did make clear to him, however, that he WOULD be held 100% liable and accountable for any other issues or damage on the boat caused by him as a result of an error, negligence or plain mismanagement. Fabio accepted and agreed. 

Finally, after leaving Panama, Santos sent an unverified list of alleged damages I was responsible for, indicating that he would be withholding his own estimated value for these alleged damages out of my wages.

“Unverified”?? Every item that Fabio was cited for was indeed verified and evaluated. By me. That was my responsibility and job.If not, who? It wasn’t a list of “alleged” damages. Every issue I itemized and discussed with him were indeed real and cost the boat real money. It was a detailed rundown of how Fabio’s management of the boat resulted in SEVERAL unnecessary and extraneous damages and costs to the boat. It’s funny how he posts all these marginally relevant emails but he doesn’t post the one I sent him at the time he was due to leave the boat. Bearing in mind, again, that I still at this point know NOTHING about the funds he was paid that were still being held by Mitzy in whatever mysterious arrangement she came up with. 

Sorry to make this post so long, but it’s important that I include the whole email outlining Fabio’s liabliities. I think it’s fair to say that I spared no detail: 

“Hi Fabio, we’re finally at the point where we can account for all outstanding pay and issues. You can see the statement via the google doc I just shared with you.

The pay section is pretty self-explanatory. According to our records, you have been paid up to date as of March 15th. So I simply listed the remaining pay due as of that date.

The liabilities section is where I want to focus the bulk of this message on.

Unfortunately, Fabio, your work aboard Andiamo has been both stellar and rather lacking. Your relations with guests has been quite commendable (though I’ve been saying for some time now that’s the easy part), but your boat management, maintenance, seamanship, and organizational skills have been rather lacking. In fact, I found some pretty shocking evidence of that when I was aboard last March. The difference in the boat’s overall condition between October and March was stunning to say the least. I found you using the same can of varnish I bought you back in October, though it had hardened up to a rock inside the can (and yet you were still trying to get varnish out of it), I saw your line handling and stowage skills to be rather poor. And poor repair work and maintenance all over the place. I saw the teak in the cockpit looking like it has not been cleaned in several months, when it should have been cleaned about once a month (and you told me you didn’t even know how to clean it, but Dino does know, and it still wasn’t done).

There are many other points I want to raise, but I want to keep things as down to business as possible. So these points will be outlined more fully as we go through the liabilities section:

1. Dinghy recovery – $110.00 – You basically forgot to tie the dinghy off while bringing the guests ashore to Kuanidup pequeno for a nighttime bonfire (something you are NOT supposed to be doing on the trips, and something the Kunas are not particularly fond of!). You find the dinghy, and then you want Andiamo to pay for your carelessness. Not how it works. You are responsible for this cost, and just be glad that you recovered the dinghy. Because if you hadn’t you would have been liable for purchasing a new one.

2. Wind generator blade replacement – $140.00 – I clearly told you at the beginning of your time aboard Andiamo that I didn’t want you doing what Phil2 was doing with the tarp. Where he was gathering it up all the way aft and keeping it on the bimini. It looks ugly, and it cooks the tarp in the sun needlessly. It can also prove to be a problem in the event of a sudden squall. Yet, you proceeded to do it anyway (even AFTER you doing this caused the wind generator to break).

3. Lewmar ST40 self-tailer breakage – $200.00 (if I can even get the parts) – At first you made it sound like this happened during the normal course of sailing. However, once I got aboard, and we talked about it more, you clarified that the winch broke while you were trying to use to raise you up the mast. Which is not proper. It’s clear now that you put excessive load on the self-tailer section of the winch, causing it to break. This was pretty irresponsible, not to mention dangerous.

4. Keel damage – this issue is particularly distressing. Because no notice whatsoever of the real extent of the damage was made to me. Nor was a photo made of the damage as I requested. The keel was clearly impacted with a lot of the boat’s weight on a wide section of reef. This caused the wing section of the keel to impact upwards and break off the fiberglass/epoxy work that seals the seam between the wing section and the vertical section of the keel. When I confronted you about it, you dismissed it as not being serious, and said that the impact happened when Phil2 was aboard, but you were captaining. The extent of the damage should have been brought to my attention then. This keel damage was NOT on the keel when I last dove around the boat. The damage is significant, and it’s going to cost us another week in the yard minimum plus additional labor and materials costs.

Furthermore, if any of the four bottom mounting keel bolts are stripped, they cost approximately $250 a piece. If we have to replace all four bolts, that cost alone will be $1000.00. So needless to say, you should be charged more than what is being charged for this damage. And the fact that you didn’t report the extent of the damage immediately was an egregious dereliction of duty. Be aware that if the damage results in higher costs than what you have been assessed, I will recommend to the shareholders that a claim should be filed against your liabliity insurance for further damages.

5. Autopilot control pad – $250.00 On Sonnie’s visit before I was last on the boat, he informed me that he got the autopilot working again. It was appparently operational but needed calibration (which I really don’t understand why you didn’t just do it, the manual tells you how to do it and is onboard). Not long after the repair, you mentioned to me that you had opened up the control pad again to check the contacts that Sonnie found to be faulty before. Apparently, you thought you knew enough about it to attempt it yourself. But somehow, most likely due to overtightening of one of the screws or some other misalignment, the case cracked. This cracked case allowed salt air and moisture to enter the casing and well, it was all downhill from there. This resulted in what may have been a repairable unit to get totally trashed. And Fabio, even if you weren’t willing to admit you caused the crack, you could have EASILY repaired the case with epoxy and silicone sealant to at least waterproof it again. You didn’t do this, and due to this failure, you’re accountable for 50% of the replacement value of $500.00

6. Mainsail damage – $200.00 Fabio, when I brought the new sail aboard in late August, and got it raised up. I made it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR to you that the sail was a particularly light sail, and it needed to be handled properly. I told you that you couldn’t flog the sail excessively or use it in heavy wind conditions. Yet, on several occasions, you told me you were under full sail. So much so, that you were heeling excessively and taking on water via the portlights. Apparently, you didn’t understand the need to let the traveler out in those conditions. In any case, it’s clear that you put this sail under extreme loads, and that doesn’t included the evident damage due to excessive flogging when furling and unfurling the sail. I received the first complaint about a tear on the sail in January, which means that within four months, the sail had already incurred damage. When I showed up in late March, you told me that the sail had still one tear in the upper leech. But when we got it down, it was more like THREE and went down more than one quarter of the leech. You saw how unhappy I was then, and it was clear that you not only didn’t follow instructions, you totally abused the sail.

7. Deferred maintenance – $750.00 – Fabio, this charge is meant to cover SEVERAL issues resulting from your poor maintenance/management of the boat. Let’s start with the maintenance spreadsheet. When you got aboard, I told you I wanted an updated sheet every week around Wednesday. Unfortunately, I was lucky to get one update in a month, despite my repeated requests. Then when you would send me an update, it was often incomplete or sketchy, and it was clear that you weren’t following the maintenance procedures as laid out on the sheet!

For example, you didn’t replace the water filter cartridges every six weeks like you’re supposed to. In doing so, you let one filter stay on the water system for almost FOUR MONTHS. When you chatted me in a panic saying that diesel was getting into the fresh water lines.

When you FINALLY checked the filter and changed it, the water cleared up again. You caused an unnecessary panic among the guests, and needless bad feedback and reviews about the quality of the water aboard. Because you wouldn’t check and change the filters as you were supposed to. Your lack of attention to the boat’s maintenance and management was not just limited to these kinds of things, Fabio. Even Dino noted to both Mitzy and myself that you didn’t seem to concern yourself with keeping the boat up. He also mentioned your lack of organization several times and how it frustrated him. I also noticed that the varnishing updating was nowhere NEAR where it should have been over the four months I was gone from the boat between October and March. Then when it came to condition of the galley counter, and the section by the sink, it just became more obvious that you were not keeping up with the maintenance to any real extent. When I checked the footpump, it was as if it was never replaced. It was mounted so poorly that it was basically useless. Which only meant that you guys were using more freshwater than you needed to for galley duties. This means more water to make, more gas consumption, more wear on the generator, see where I’m going with this? All because you couldn’t mount the footpump properly. Unfortunately, it took me to work on it for 3 some odd hours to get it mounted right. As well as fixing the GPS antenna, the seatalk, and several other issues.

As for the fuel, you didn’t keep track of fuel intake or consumption at all, that much is obvious. And because you didn’t, and because you didn’t bother trying to fix the fuel gauge, even though I told you where you can get the gauge kit that goes with the sending unit I got you back in August. No initiative whatsoever to resolve an issue that would later cost us untold amounts of wasted diesel, negative feedback, poor relations with other cruisers (thanks to you allowing diesel to get dumped out the bilge), and an unnecessary search for a non-existent leak. Then, to add insult to injury, you allow Andiamo to almost run out of diesel again during the transition with Rob.

Fabio, when I got to Panama after hiring you, I spoke long and hard to you about being more “engaged” and pro-active with the boat. To avoid problems before they blow up in our faces. And repeatedly, you due to simple errors in judgement and lax attitude, you let so many unnecessary and expensive issues arise. So to say that the costs you’ve incurred the boat to be limited to what you’re being charged here is, trust me, incredibly generous on Andiamo’s part. If I had to sit down and tally up ALL the costs and damages due to your deferred maintenance and poor management, suffice it to say it would end up being DOUBLE the $750.00 you are being docked. I’m calculating this figure, by the way by charging you for one trip night per month for 5 months (almost half of the time you’ve been aboard Andiamo). I can go on and on about this particular subject, but I think I’ve made my point.

8. Unsatisfactory transition and failure to set Rob up with operational navigation/gps and tracks – $250 Fabio, I honestly didn’t think you could do a worse job than Phil did with you regarding the transition. You did only 2 trips with Rob working aboard, and spent incredibly little time aboard during the breaks in between. So much more could have been done during the transition that wasn’t. So instead we have several issues outstanding that should not be. I really didn’t expect you to become as unprofessional as you did, during this period. Though after the way you gave your notice to me, along with some other instances that followed, I can’t say I was surprised.

Especially when you hurled accusations about your pay when both Mitzy and I knew you were being paid on a timely basis. I also shouldn’t have to mention that you were supposed to be on this trip that Robert is on and told me you were leaving on the 23rd. Only to find out about a couple of days ago, you were never planning on doing the 20th trip. Fabio, this is beyond unacceptable, and beyond unprofessional. I told you that I fully expected nothing less than a nice neat transition, and you failed to deliver on that.

As for the navigation computer, leaving Robert without working navigation on his PC, which was YOUR responsibility during the transition, just like it was Phil’s when you came aboard, was disturbing. Especially when it had already been discussed with Mitzy that you would be paid the $150 for it (despite that not being fair) and then pulling that stunt about leaving the computer with Dino’s son, thus now putting him the middle of it. That was beyond lowball, and unacceptable. So now, the deal is off, and we will make our own arrangements to get Robert set up. However, as a result of you not following through on your responsibilities for the transition, you are being charged.

Please be sure to leave Mitzy with a copy of your insurance paperwork, in the event that we ultimately do need to file a claim for the keel damage if the damage exceeds what I estimated, as it very well may.

On behalf of Andiamo Ventures, Inc. and the fellow owners, I want to wish you well nonetheless, and the best of luck in the future.

This email more than details the specifics as to Fabio’s liabilities. These were all very real costs and damages as far as I was concerned. He was penalized and charged for very real issues that he caused either as a result of his poor management/maintenance of Andiamo, or just plain laziness or lack of attention. His damaging of the keel was particularly disturbing since he didn’t say a thing to me about it. And then when I found out about it, he didn’t think it was a big deal. It is. 

It was never indicated that wages would be held as a deposit, for that purpose both parties (Santos as boat owner and myself as skipper) were insured.

Again, Fabio keeps trying to name me individually when he knows he was clearly working for a corporation which I don’t even own the majority of. It’s a GROSS misrepresentation. And Fabio definitely appears to be in denial. When it was clearly spelled out to him both at the time he was hired and we met in Milan, AND after the October flooded-engine incident, that he WOULD be held liable for any damages. This is why I required him to have a liability policy. Fabio did have the option to file a claim with his insurer for the damages we cited and held him for, to at least get reimbursed within the terms of his policy. Instead, he wanted us to pay him and then go file a claim with his insurance. He fails to understand that this is an option only if we can’t recoup his financial responsibility directly from him ie; his wages. Unfortunately, Fabio really needs to get a clue as to how liability works when it comes to being a captain of a vessel. 

Liability Dispute During his most recent survey of the boat in March, Santos did not indicate any intention to seek compensation for problems with the boat condition.

Fabio makes it sound as if I was required to state to him right then and there his financial responsibilities for his damages. What?? Does he not understand that I would have to research the costs, and identify specifically what he was and was not responsible for causing? It was clear to him during my onboard visit that I was not at all happy about the state of the boat. As I more than clearly specified on my email posted above. I myself had to fix and/or re-fix several items that should have been taken care of by Fabio. He acts somewhat surprised that because I didn’t say anything to him right then and there to be still held accountable at the time of his separation from the business. It’s beyond outrageous. 

Before that Survey I communicated the decision to terminate my employment with Andiamo to pursue another job.

Fabio gave his notice via emali on March 5th. I didn’t visit the boat until late March/early April. 

In the communication I agreed to leave Santos 2 months time to find a successful resolution of the transition. Santos expressed dismay at my departure and negotiated that I stay on a little longer and tasked me with training the next incoming captain, Robert Van De Ven (Attachment 7), which I did.

Again, not true. I didn’t “negotiate” anything with Fabio. The fact is, that one of the conditions that Fabio agreed to when he was hired was that he was going to stay on for a minimum of one year. Considering that he came aboard late July 2011, that would mean he was expected to stay aboard until end of July 2012.

So when Fabio gave us his notice, it pretty much came out of nowhere. I indicated to him that because of the timing and some other factors, we were going to need to look for a captain pretty fast. Fabio was being rather adamant in his departing in early May regardless of whether or not we find a captain in time.

Considering the situation regarding his own agreement to stay aboard until July 2012, I thought it was only fair that he stay flexible with us until we got a new captain and aboard. I didn’t hire Robert until mid April 2012, and he came aboard within a week or so later. Furthermore, when Fabio did give his notice, he didn’t really give me a reason why he was leaving the job early, and did not mention the cash that Mitzy was holding for him or anything about it. So it was all the more disturbing that he just sprung it on an email. As well as incredibly unprofessional. 

I believe this liability claim to be an attempt to recoup losses from company’s or personal finance.

The liability claim is legitimate, and I explain in CLEAR DETAIL why it is. Fabio is just trying to muddle two separate issues into one. The issue of Mitzy holding his cash for him and then not giving it to him, is an ENTIRELY SEPARATE and UNRELATED issue.

Had he brought it to my attention in total and complete detail back when I was in Panama in late March/early April, we could have resolved it. Instead, I knew he got paid over $3300 in cash while I was there, and that was ALL I knew. Fabio is trying to theorize away his true responsibility as captain of Andiamo, and trying to use what happened with his financial dealings with Mitzy (all on his own) as a smokescreen.

Oddly enough, when I did finally catch Mitzy in a clear lie and got to the truth of the matter (around early May, while I was out here in Europe no less) I told Fabio clearly and succinctly that I would do everything I can to get his wages that I do believe he is due paid. As of now, he’s been paid half of those outstanding wages ($2500 out of $4750). Fabio also fails to point out that $600 US of the amount he claims is travel reimbursement, which he is not entitled to due to the fact that he didn’t stay with Andiamo for one year, and we had still not been able to recoup our budget due to the $1000 loss he incurred in October. 

According to Santos’s statement he intends to withhold a total of 3400$ in liabilities. In addition he is disputing 2 paid trips wages saying I miscalculated my trips and reducing the agreed travel reimbursement of 50% even if the agreement was to have it payed after six months of work, which I did. In summary, Santos intends to pay me $500.00 instead of the $4498.00 anticipated from this second payment.

If you read the email, I made the recommendation to the corp that he be withheld the listed liabilities, and he forfeit the remaining travel reimbursement. Yes. His allegations of me saying he “miscalculated” anything are strictly his words. He did at one time send me a very convoluted spreadsheet showing what he has been paid and what he was due back in April. And immediately it didn’t look correct to me. Because he had the money that I KNEW he had been paid while I was there but held by Mitzy as STILL UNPAID. When I emailed him challenging him on this, he didn’t even reply. 

Conclusion At this time, Santos is withholding a total of $8698.00 in wages.

That conclusion is grossly inaccurate, and FALSE. Especially considering that Fabio has been paid $2500 since his “memorandum” was written, and because he knows that I have been trying to get him paid his remaining $2250 by the corporation (as both Robert and Dino can attest).

He knows that he has been working for a corporation of which I have a minority stake, and STILL he tries to claim that I’m the one who owes him these imagined monies. 

If anyone has any questions, feel free to post on comments or email me. 

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