In July 2003 I received the following email:
Email: Greg Williams
Looking for general company information on PSNC. Working on a ms. for future book which will have mv "LA PAZ" in a 1951 U.S. federal court case dating from WWII. Plan on contacting George Monk but need background on founding and history etc. of PSNC. Thanks. Greg W.
I replied supplying details of Duncan Haws' excellent book about PSNC and some of the history of the ship.
Barry, thanks for the info. Actually I found pretty much what I need about the company from your website. I just heard from George Monk and he's sending me what he has on the "La Paz" voyage, cargo, torpedoing, etc., but I would like to hear from anyone else who was aboard.
The ship was taken in tow by the Bahama Shipping Co.'s "DEN" and beached. Bahama filed a salvage claim against the ship and were awarded something over $9,000.
What I really want to find out is why PSNC apparently abandoned their interest in the vessel. It was sold at a U.S. Marshal's sale to Tropical Steamship Co. for $10,000 but the court report doesn't say why. That's irritating me! Tropical couldn't find a salvage outfit to work on the ship so they did it themselves. After Tropical spent over $300,000 the War Shipping Administration requisitioned the ship. Under our Constitution's 5th amendment, when the govt exercises its powers of "imminent domain" and takes private property for the public good, they must pay the owner a fair and just compensation - essentially the market value of what was taken. The US govt took virtually every existing vessel during WWI and a great many of all sizes during WWII.
Anyway, Tropical wasn't happy with the amount offered and, by custom, they took 75% of the amount reserving the right to recover later in court. The case is Tropical's suit to recover, which they did in 1952. These were very common lawsuits as a fallout from the Civil War, WWI, and WWII and the "La Paz" story is one of many of this type.
My previous book is titled "Civil and Merchant Vessel Encounters with United States Navy Ships, 1800-2000." There's a fair amount of Royal Navy and British Merchant Navy material in it. Thanks again.
If you were on that voyage or have any information to assist Greg then do please contact him - Greg Williams