Some people on the Miami River call the Rex Bear the voodoo ship. A 40-year-old steel-hull freighter, it glided up from Cap-Haitien, Haiti, in 1990 and never left. Over the past seven years, it has become a wandering ghost haunting the river, unable to find refuge.
Just recently, on the inauspicious thirteenth day of February, two U.S. Coast Guard cutters were taking a group of Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce members on a tour of the river. As the boats motored west under the Miami Avenue drawbridge, they came upon the 213-foot-long Rex Bear, which, for the past year and a half, has been moored illegally along a vacant, overgrown stretch of waterfront on the north bank that long ago was a dock for banana boats.
As it happened, another freighter was passing by at the same moment, and the surge from its wake caused the Rex Bear to lightly sway and pull away from the seawall.
Coast Guard Capt. D.F. Miller, who in his approximately 21 months as commanding officer of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in Miami has been praised for taking strong measures to improve the river's safety and environmental quality, was recounting to the dozen dignitaries on his boat "some of the problems we were having with the Rex Bear -- that it really isn't supposed to be there. As they can see, it's not in the best of shape." Just then the movement of the ship caused one of its four rotted mooring lines to tear apart, and a second to rip loose from the deck, taking with it a five-foot chunk of the steel gunwale, which arced into the air and splashed down in front of the stunned but unharmed tour group. "We all kind of dropped our jaws," Miller recalls. "They accused me of having planned it like that. We didn't see anybody aboard, so I called my folks to come over and see about getting the lines replaced."
After the touring boats passed, it didn't take long for Coast Guard enforcement officers to pay a visit to the Rex Bear and order its owners to attach new lines or face fines of $10,000 per day.
The two busted mooring lines were replaced the next day. But in the scheme of things, the threat of a $10,000 fine would hardly have caused a stir. The Rex Bear and its operators, after all, were old hands at dealing with such threats.
A few months ago the Coast Guard imposed a $25,000 penalty for failure to comply with an order to move the ship to an approved dock. When the Rex Bear didn't budge and the penalty went unpaid, the Coast Guard got serious and slapped on another $250,000. Efforts by other regulatory agencies and river business operators to move the Rex Bear have been equally unsuccessful. A pending civil lawsuit seeks to have it towed from the private property where it's docked, and the Coast Guard fines are still outstanding. Meanwhile the Rex Bear remains immovable, prompting more and more people on the river to wonder just what kind of spell has immobilized a phalanx of government agents for a year and a half. "Where do you start?" asks an annoyed Coast Guard Cmdr. William Uberti, one of the officials most involved in the matter. "It's so screwed up. We have a folder that's about three inches thick, and I don't know when it's going to end."
"Sometimes I could cry over what's happened to this ship," laments Robert Madsen, a diminutive, red-faced man of 81 who speaks English and Spanish with a husky Danish accent. He has driven up to the side of the ship, as he does nearly every day, steering his ten-year-old Chevy through clumps of garbage and the tangled knots of grass that serve as nests for homeless men in the vacant lot fronting the water. "I could have had it ready to go two and a half years ago," he asserts. "I can see now the ship will never sail under its own power."
Since leaving his native Copenhagen in the Forties, Madsen has labored as a marine engineer on freighters out of ports all over Europe, South America, and North America. At various times over the past fifteen years he has worked on ships for Michael Zapetis, the businessman who hired Madsen in 1992 to get the Rex Bear running. The vessel had sat idle for more than a year, but Madsen was eventually able to make some repairs to the engine and to paint the deck and hull. Snapshots from that time suggest the Rex Bear was looking pretty spiffy, at least superficially. Today, however, there's little evidence of the improvements Madsen and a few workers had accomplished.
The ship's central loading crane is one of the few things of value remaining onboard. There's also a beautiful and useless brass-trimmed mahogany wheel in the pilot house, along with old radar and navigation instruments labeled in German (the ship was built in West Germany in 1956). Firefighting equipment is corroded or broken, the cargo hold is flooded because the disintegrating hatch covers let in rainwater. Metal railings have been consumed by rust. Decks and floors are decayed and peeling. The once-lustrous mahogany paneling, cabinetry, and furniture inside are dull and damaged. Navigation books dating from decades ago are coated with greasy dust and chewed up by time and mildew. Mosquitoes swarm around padlocked closet doors, and filthy squares of foam rubber and bedding are shoved into corners of crew cabins. In the mess hall, three partially used jars of instant coffee sit on a cabinet next to a book of plays by Sophocles (translated into Spanish) and a paperback romance novel (in English). There's no way to boil water for coffee or to use the moldy shower stall in the bathroom, as the ship has no electricity or running water. An incongruous white portable toilet on the aft deck has never been used, according to Madsen.
Nevertheless, the scattered signs of human life hint at the presence of a watchman and one or two other men, all former denizens of the field outside, whom Madsen hired or allowed to sleep aboard the ship. The watchman, whom everyone calls Chino, is paid to ward off any possible incursions by bums or burglars.
Bums would seem to be a greater preoccupation these days; there's little left for burglars to steal. The Rex Bear's deterioration has been dramatic since being towed to its present location in August 1995.
Not long after the ship tied up without permission at the old banana-boat dock, Coast Guard officials took note of its precarious position at a turn in the river and notified the owner that the Rex Bear would have to move to an approved dock. In addition, because the ship was carrying a large amount of fuel (and other potentially hazardous substances), it would have to either obtain pollution insurance or offload the materials.
The owner's representatives promised to move the ship and assured officials that proof of insurance would be forthcoming. But docks on the river either wouldn't or couldn't take the freighter, and insurance companies wouldn't get close to a vessel in such bad condition. Some of the hazardous materials onboard were removed, but not all. Metro-Dade's Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) joined the feds in pressuring the ship's owner, though to no apparent effect.
After months of watching the freighter wasting away in an illegal location, Florida Marine Patrol officers decided the Rex Bear was a derelict vessel. One day about a year ago they piloted a boat alongside the freighter and spray-painted big green letters DV on the bow and stern. Designation as a derelict vessel meant the state could set in motion a procedure to dispose of the ship, the two most common fates being scrapped in a landfill or buried underwater as an artificial reef. In this case, officials from DERM expected to inherit the ship, and they were thrilled when they received financial grants from the state to transform the freighter into an offshore reef. Their elation was premature.
When the marine patrol's actions came to the attention of Karen Carazo, she went ballistic. Along with her husband Michael Zapetis, Carazo acts as the U.S. representative for the Costa Rican company that owns the Rex Bear. In that capacity she dashed off letters of protest to the marine patrol and the Coast Guard, insisting the freighter was certainly not abandoned and was merely in the process of being readied to sail. "The huge 'DV' numbers all over the Rex Bear are terrible," Carazo wrote to the marine patrol in July of last year. "First, they are written ... in graffiti style. Second, they imply that the Rex Bear is abandoned or derelict, which it is not.... Since your office has plastered the Rex Bear with the DV stigma, I have had trouble negotiating dock space, several tugboat companies have refused to move the boat, and any removal [of hazardous material] by a qualified waste removal company has been only after my personal pleading and visit with the company representatives.... Please respond ... that you have corrected the error and removed the vessel from the Derelict Vessel Program."
Months passed without any action. The Rex Bear maintained its designation as a derelict vessel, but Florida Marine Patrol officials, for reasons they will not discuss, decided not to press ahead with plans to transfer the ship to DERM. Because DERM maintains a long list of artificial-reef candidates, they simply used the grants for other ships.
Probably it was reluctance to provoke legal action that prompted the marine patrol to back off. In the past, according to some officials familiar with the disposal process, owners of derelict or abandoned vessels occasionally filed claims after learning too late that their property had already been dismantled or sent to the ocean bottom.
Gary Smallridge, an attorney for the state Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee who is involved with interagency efforts to resolve the Rex Bear matter, says he can't comment in detail but will say that the Coast Guard is better equipped than the Florida Marine Patrol to deal with large freighters. "We're yielding to our federal brethren at this juncture," he explains. The Coast Guard has the authority to seize vessels, especially if they're navigation hazards, but officials are not eager to spend taxpayer money towing away a ship that probably would be donated to the artificial reef program at some point."
An undercurrent of frustration surfaces among those who have been struggling with the Rex Bear and who are disheartened that the marine patrol would prolong an already abnormally extended ordeal by giving up on a workable, funded plan to turn the ship into a reef. "Nothing's easy," says one participant in the efforts to move the ship. "If the government backed off every time somebody didn't like something, nothing would ever get done."
The harsh fines the Coast Guard is attempting to impose illustrate the agency's latest approach. "Our strategy is to pressure them with so many fines and increase the penalties so they'll have to forfeit it," says the outspoken Commander Uberti. "We're pissed. [Karen Carazo] didn't just yank us around, she yanked all the other governmental agencies around. We have a meeting once a week just to see who she's yanking around this time."
"What are these goofy agencies doing?" cries Carazo, age 39, gesturing dramatically as she bustles from fax machine to desk in her office overlooking Biscayne Bay. "They have no clue. They're screaming to move the vessel, but at the same time they impose these fines. Instead of letting me take care of getting it running, they've essentially confiscated it." Carazo, who often cocks her head sideways to punctuate phrases, grows more irritated as she dwells on the subject. "What they've been smoking, I don't know!" she fumes.
Her streaked-blond, shoulder-length hair frames large brown eyes and imparts a vaguely Renaissance Madonna look to her face. She and her husband have two young children. It was their son Rex, now ten years old, who inspired Carazo to name the freighter after him and his fascination with the television characters the Care Bears. "Poor kid," she sighs. "He didn't know this was going to happen."
Carazo is holding forth in typically animated fashion in the office of First International Finance Corp., a Nevada-registered business of which Carazo is president and her husband, Michael Zapetis, chairman. The office, like the family's residence, is actually a condominium in the vast but exclusive Grand, just north of downtown Miami at water's edge behind the Omni mall.
Zapetis is 68 years old but looks very well-preserved, his pale face freckled and his hair a vivid auburn. Constantly taking and making phone calls at his desk in a converted bedroom off the main office area (the living room), Zapetis conveys an impression of affluence -- sheeny brown suit, red silk tie, glittering jewelry. He has worked in the marine business all his life and qualifies as one of the old-timers on the Miami River.
Like many river habitues, he has an engaging, friendly manner, and he likes to tell war stories. Others river veterans have stories about Zapetis too. They're aware, for example, that he's had some trouble with the law, though they're vague about what kind of trouble. But in an environment like the Miami River -- infused with a pragmatic lawlessness and a general distrust of government and regulations -- having had run-ins with the authorities isn't necessarily such a bad thing. Much worse is having trouble with other river folk. "He's referred to as the King of the Miami River Rats, you know," says one business owner, "because of all the lousy things he's done. He's done everything to everybody." When pressed about specifics, most of Zapetis's detractors simply say that they lost money one way or another when they did business with him.
And that, they say, is part of the problem with the Rex Bear. "There's not a place on this river that boat could go that it hasn't gone already and screwed people out of money," says one business operator who swears he's afraid of retribution if his name is published. "They know they're not going to get paid. Nobody wants anything to do with Mike."
Zapetis spent eight months of a fifteen-year sentence in federal prison during the early Eighties following a conviction for conspiring to import marijuana. (His unusually brief incarceration was largely the result of his poor health.) In 1987 Dade Circuit Judge Edward Moore ordered the state comptroller's office to close four finance corporations run by Zapetis because the comptroller believed they were fraudulently operating as banks. Zapetis and a co-defendant agreed to cease their business practices and to pay restitution to victims. And in August 1996, Dade County records indicate, Zapetis was convicted of petit theft, and adjudication was withheld on a felony charge of illegal loan-brokering. According to criminal investigator Michael Lipsitt of the Florida Office of the Comptroller, who arrested him, Zapetis agreed to pay restitution in lieu of a jail term. (Zapetis claims that he was falsely fingered on the marijuana charges, and he intends to prove that he was the true victim in the loan-brokering case.)
His current job as chairman of First International Finance (FIF) he describes as one of "buying, selling, and consulting to numerous offshore companies. Right now I've got orders for a hundred pieces of marine equipment." FIF also handles certain Rex Bear matters on behalf of the Costa Rican corporation that owns the ship.
For the most part Zapetis stays in the background and lets his wife take care of daily operations. Regulatory and law enforcement authorities have been suspicious of many of Zapetis's and Carazo's business ventures in recent years, but they say the couple's deft use of offshore corporations and other tactics to protect themselves from financial and legal liability have made it difficult to prove any wrongdoing.
The Miss Juanita mess is a good example of how a host of governmental authorities can pursue Zapetis and Carazo and still end up with nothing to show for it. From 1991 until 1994, Dade County's DERM tried to recoup some of the $73,000 it spent to clean up and remove an asbestos-contaminated ship that had been abandoned on the Miami River. A corporation owned by Zapetis and Carazo had, in 1989, purchased the vessel -- a wooden minesweeper from the Forties named the Miss Juanita. Right before it was abandoned they sold it to a homeless man named Bicycle Jim, who had been living on the ship, stripping it, selling the parts, and turning over the proceeds to Zapetis in exchange for living expenses.
The government was convinced Zapetis and Carazo were at all times the ship's true owners; Bicycle Jim even testified in a deposition that he'd never signed the bill of sale. But that apparently didn't disprove the sale. Misdemeanor criminal charges (for abandoning a derelict vessel and other related infractions) were brought against Carazo and subsequently dropped. DERM filed a civil lawsuit against Zapetis, but it too was dismissed. The owner of the dock at which the ship was moored agreed to pay a small part of the clean-up expenses.
"If anyone is trying to liken the Miss Juanita to the Rex Bear situation, they're such trash," Carazo protests. "There's no similarity. Of course, I had to spend $15,000 of my own money before they dropped the whole thing."
Zapetis, who is unfailingly described as highly intelligent and capable of "charming a snake," in the words of his long-time helper Robert Madsen, says the only connection between the two cases is simply that the regulatory officials wanted a free ship. "They're doing this to everybody," Zapetis says, dismissively waving a diamond-encrusted gold macaroon of a cuff link. "They're all shakedown artists one way or another. They'll connive to get their hands on a boat and then make a deal with the reef society [to sink it as an artificial reef]. They have no right to take a ship that's not derelict, not abandoned, just to get a free fishing reef and line their own pockets. They plotted to get [the Rex Bear] but Karen wouldn't let them get away with it. They hate a woman to be involved in river business."
Zapetis and Carazo insist that they could have the Rex Bear running within a month or two if they didn't have the government demanding impossible amounts of money they would otherwise use to fix it. They're also advertising to sell the ship or to attract joint-venture partners in its rehabilitation. This past June they rejected a $20,000 offer for the Rex Bear by the Miami River Marine Group, a consortium of the river's biggest companies, which intended to donate it to Dade's artificial reef program. Broward County officials turned down Carazo's offer to sell the freighter to Broward's artificial reef program for $100,000.
Most people knowledgeable about the Rex Bear estimate the repairs necessary to get it operable would be in the range of $100,000, possibly more than the ship is worth. Currently First International Finance is not paying dockage, which would normally run from around $2000 to $4000 per month, but Carazo claims she's spending $2000 each month on Madsen and the watchman and their expenses. During the past four years, she says, she's spent more than $285,000 on the Rex Bear while it's been rusting in the sun. To cover the costs, the Costa Rican company that owns the ship has contributed $150,000, and Carazo has taken out several loans totaling about $135,000. Carazo adds that she has not been receiving the $250 per month the corporate owners agreed to pay her as the Rex Bear's U.S. representative because the ship isn't working.
As with many 40-year-old ships, the Rex Bear has undergone various incarnations. The earliest name engineer Robert Madsen can find is the Ortrud Muller. Then it became the Ramsland. Neither Madsen, Carazo, nor Zapetis is sure where it sailed before it wound up in in Cap-Haitien in the late Eighties under the name God Is Good.
Zapetis bought it there in 1990 for $100,000, registered it in Honduras, and hired a crew to sail it up to Miami. About three months later he sold the ship to a Haitian corporation for $150,000, with FIF providing financing. The God Is Good was to join the countless vessels of every size, description, and degree of seaworthiness then plying the lucrative trade routes between Miami and Haiti (which were soon to suffer because of the U.S. trade embargo following the coup that deposed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide).
The freighter made no more than one roundtrip. Carazo says the new owners didn't keep up the payments, and after several months she and Zapetis began the long legal process involved in retrieving their ship. A federal judge ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to seize the vessel to keep it from leaving the river. Already heaped with cars, bicycles, appliances, rice, and beans, the God Is Good languished for months before the cargo was offloaded. "I remember it was hard to get close to it because the rice and beans they had onboard were rotting and stinking so bad," recalls Rick Winfield, manager of Moby Marine, one of the towing companies hired at various times to move the ship from one terminal to another.
Despite protests from the Haitian owners and, according to Carazo, threats from voodoo-doll-wielding relatives, a judge allowed Carazo to act as legal custodian of the ship. This gave her special standing when it was put up for auction (part of the normal seizure process) on the steps of the Dade County Courthouse in June 1992. FIF bought it for $40,000 and then sold it that same day for $50,000 to the Consorcio Internacional de Marquis, the Costa Rican corporation.
Now christened the Rex Bear, the freighter began its peregrinations on the river. For a while it was tied to trees near Bud's Auto Parts on the river near NW 36th Street. Eventually the freighter moved to Brickell Shipping, just upriver from the Miami Avenue bridge. Madsen, charged with getting the ship into working order, says repairs had been going slowly and sporadically because he wasn't given the money to hire a full crew, electricity wasn't always available, and "every time I was needing something, the money was not there to continue working. I couldn't continue because I couldn't get parts. The last time we made any progress was when we were at Brickell. At Brickell I only needed one week to get the generator running. Then somebody moved [the ship] in the middle of the night." While the widely held opinion on the river is that the Rex Bear moved around so much because it owed dockage fees, Carazo indignantly denies it. "We paid!" she shouts. "I moved it when I could get a better deal somewhere else."
Butch Brickell, the laconic owner of the shipyard, sums up his dilemma: "They owed me quite a bit of back rent so I kicked 'em out." In August 1995 a tug (not Winfield's -- he says by then he preferred not to deal with that recurring headache) nudged the freighter just across the river to the vacant property. "We literally woke up one morning and there it was," says J. Raul Cosio, attorney for the property owner, a corporation called Miami Trade Center.
In September 1995 Captain Miller of the Coast Guard issued an order requiring the Rex Bear's owners to submit a lay-up proposal -- a plan describing where the ship would be, for how long, and what it would be doing there -- and to either secure pollution insurance or remove potentially hazardous materials. Thus began an extended and convoluted series of exchanges, mainly in the form of mountains of faxed correspondence, between Carazo and governmental officials all over Florida. After a few months of letter-writing, in which Carazo detailed her numerous efforts to find a home for the ship and promised extensive repairs, local authorities were beginning to lose patience and even once or twice accused her of trying to mislead them. Nothing changed on the Rex Bear, so the Coast Guard told Carazo she'd have to pay a $25,000 fine for not complying with the captain's order (the maximum is $25,000 per day, so they figured they were being lenient).
By then almost everyone on the river knew that the Rex Bear was a big problem for a lot of people. The standoff was discussed at meetings of the Quality Action Team and the Miami River Coordinating Committee, both of which are coalitions of various agencies (nearly 40 different regulatory bodies have jurisdiction over the river), and at meetings of the Miami River Marine Group, which Mike Zapetis derisively calls a "club." And of course the Rex Bear's multiplying troubles came up -- along with other river news, views, and rumors -- during informal gossip sessions. Nobody could quite understand why the government hadn't just nabbed the thing. But even more of a mystery was what exactly could Zapetis be thinking? How were he and Carazo planning to make money off this old crippled ship?
One businessman, speaking on condition of anonymity, speculates: "Mike Zapetis is waiting for some agency to grab it, then sue the shit out of them. He has a plan. He's a smart guy. Way superior to me."
"This happens maybe once or twice in ten, fifteen years," observes Rick Reid of Florida Marine Towing, basing his conclusions on thirty-plus years in the river business. "I don't know the background as far as why it got moved around, but usually when they do, they have legal problems. Sounds like the ship owes money to everybody -- crew, people working on it, dock fees." Reid says his company may have towed the Rex Bear somewhere at some point, but he doesn't have firsthand involvement in the saga.
Nor does Nick Zapetas, who at age 72 can look back on more than 50 years on the river. A long time ago he changed the spelling of his last name to distance himself from his brother, Mike Zapetis. "I don't fool with my brother Mike," Zapetas says. "I haven't for years. I got took over the barrel with him and learned my lesson. Mike don't treat anything according to Hoyle."
Both Zapetis brothers began working as marine mechanics in their teens. They went into business together, and over the years branched out into buying, selling, and building ships, as well as renovating and converting them. Nick went off on his own more than 30 years ago, he says, after losing $300,000. He does consulting work now, and hasn't paid much attention to the Rex Bear other than to shake his head over its tortured history: "That boat used to run to Haiti. I don't know why they shut it down. As far as I'm concerned it's a hopeless situation. It's another promotional thing. It's a game. You can sell a boat over and over again; maybe you've been selling pieces all along and getting money that way. You can find a buyer, make a contract, when [the buyer] don't come up with money in ten days -- shoo, get outta here. This does happen quite frequently with a lot of people."
Because the ship was in such bad shape by late 1995, Carazo couldn't obtain the pollution insurance required by the Coast Guard, at least not from a U.S. firm. A Costa Rican company was willing to insure the Rex Bear, but it wasn't certified to write such policies, so the Coast Guard rejected that plan.
By August 1996, however, all possible pollutants had been removed from the ship. But finding dock space remained a problem. One terminal at the Port of Miami (not on the river) agreed to accept the ship, but the Coast Guard nixed the plan because "dead ships can't lay up at the port during hurricane season," according to Coast Guard Commander Uberti. Then Carazo arranged for a terminal on the river to take the Rex Bear. But right after the Coast Guard agreed to the plan, a freighter rammed the dock and put it out of commission. "Since then [Carazo] hasn't been in compliance," says Commander Uberti. "There are plenty of places on the river they could dock that boat, but they don't want to pay."
Carazo bristles at such statements. "Oh yeah?" she retorts. "Did he actually talk to the dock owners? Check the rates? 'No, but we saw space on the river.' They see an empty 200 feet and they say that's where it can go. They forget: Gee, the owner might not take the boat. Why won't they take it? It has a bad reputation on the river now. Everyone thinks it's government property."
With the property owners having gone to court to force the freighter to leave, Carazo this past December submitted a proposal to the Florida Marine Patrol that outlined how she would remove the Rex Bear permanently from the Miami River: She and her husband would hire an oceangoing tug to move the ship to dry dock in the Dominican Republic, where it would be repaired much more cheaply than in the U.S. Once it was running, the Rex Bear would transport cargo in the Caribbean and throughout South America, but would not put in at any U.S. port forever after.
Carazo's proposal was considered -- and quickly dismissed -- at a meeting between her and federal, state, and county officials (including attorneys), some of whom traveled to Miami from Tallahassee. The plan's glaring catch: She insisted she couldn't possibly afford to do what she was proposing unless the government dropped the $25,000 fine and a demand for a $25,000 bond as insurance against the fine.
Exasperated Coast Guard lawyers told Carazo those issues were not negotiable. "That's when discussions broke down," recalls Commander Uberti. That's also when the Coast Guard decided to levy the additional $250,000 fine. (All such fines and penalties are subject to review by a Coast Guard hearing officer. In this case, the officer has not yet made a decision about either fine. But even that decision can be appealed to the commandant of the Coast Guard, a process that can take many months.)
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Robert Madsen, always neatly dressed in an oxford shirt and pressed slacks and smelling of an old-fashioned floral aftershave, still goes down to the Rex Bear many mornings -- this despite his having resigned from the employ of Mike Zapetis and Karen Carazo shortly after the incident with the broken mooring lines. Though he is tired of working so hard on a lost cause, and though he says he is owed money for his efforts, he still feels an inexplicable loyalty to and fondness for Mike Zapetis. All in all, Zapetis has treated him well, he says, adding, "I never wanted to let him down."
This particular morning is bright and cloudless. Madsen wipes a little perspiration from his eyebrows and continues to ask Chino, the watchman, in formal but fractured Spanish about the Coast Guard men who were here the day before, and whether Chino has been paid. "Everything's okay," Chino assures him without expression, his eyes hidden behind opaque sunglasses.
Just across the river, employees at Big Fish are readying the restaurant's riverside tables for the lunch crowd. Pelicans are already waiting. A loud horn sounds and the drawbridge rises to allow a small cargo carrier, the Fraternite, piled high with bicycles, refrigerators, stoves, and mattresses, to proceed toward the mouth of the river and on to Haiti.
Madsen pauses and looks up at the Rex Bear's idle crane. He often mentally calculates, and has on the tip of his tongue, the numerous major tasks that would have to be done to get the freighter operating, even though he says out loud that it won't run again. "We just needed a week over there at Brickell," he repeats, shaking his head. "If we'd have had a week, we wouldn't be here.