M/V Zion Train
26° 57.782' N
80° 00.440' W
June 02, 2003
RECOMMENDED MINIMUM TRAINING
The freighter Zion Train (IMO number 5258456) was launched by G.J. van der Werff from their Westerbroek, Netherlands shipyard on October 27, 1961. Completed on December 27, 1961, as the Novel for owners Arend Brouwer and Frederik Galenkamp of Delfzijl, the coaster was 164.2 feetlong, 26.3 feet wide, and displaced 400 gross tons. The Dutch cargo ship changed owners and names numerous times during her career: on September 3, 1974, the vessel was sold to H. Havemanof Hoogeveen, Netherlands, who renamed the vessel Plancius; she sailed as Argo T. following her sale on May 27, 1988, to Argo T. Scheepvaartonderneining N.V.; in 1993, the freighter was acquired by Monique Shipping Corporation of Belize, who renamed her Monique; two years later she operated as Ines I for Belizean owners; and Benjamin Darvil , Incorporated of Belize purchased the coaster in July 1996, whereupon she was renamed Vanderpool Express. While Benjamin Darvil was the registered owner, it is believed the vessel was actually controlled by Savil and Yolene Dessaint, who used the freighter to help smuggle almost 900 pounds of cocaine a month into South Florida from Haiti. The drug ring
eventually collapsed following an investigation into the murders of the captain and four crew members on the Vanderpool Express while moored along the Miami River on July 14, 1997. The freighter was sold in August 1997 to Honduran owners, who named the vessel Fidele Express. Unfortunately, on October 13, 1997, the Fidele Express grounded on Miami Beach after her anchor broke loose during a storm. The vessel was eventually refloated and towed up the Miami River for repairs, which totaled more than $100,000. Her owners balked at the bill, however, and abandoned the vessel, which was later seized by US. Marsha lsand subsequently sold to a local salvage firm. In 2000, she was sold and registered as the Zion Train by her new owners, Association Industriale Haitien of San Lorenzo, Honduras.
The rusting freighter Zion Train was ultimately purchased and cleaned by Palm Beach County at a cost of $25,000. On June 2, 2002, the former Dutch coaster was scuttled in 90feet of water off Jupiter. Originally resting upright and intact, Hurricane Frances ravaged the freighter in 2005, breaking it in half and moving the bow well over a mile south from its initial position. The bow now rests hard over on her port side, while the stern section, firmly embedded in the limestone bottom, lists to starboard. The stem section and collapsed cargo holds are located just south of the 55‐foot long, upside‐down barge Miss Jenny and the 146‐foot long tanker Esso Bonaire III. This trio of wrecks is known to attract significant numbers of Goliath grouper during their annual spawning season in late August through September.