On the 3rd of January 2019, part of the 16-year-old Yantian Express the 7,510 TEU, 320m German-flagged ship of Hapag Lloyd went up in flames while on its way from Colombo to Halifax via the Suez Canal..
The container fire that broke out was largely contained and brought under control after one week through the launching of immediate fire-fighting efforts.. Since then, the remaining salvage operations have made considerable progress as per updates from Hapag Lloyd..
Misdeclaration in weight or misdeclaration of hazardous content has been the bane of the shipping industry and the carriers who have suffered several consequences due to misdeclarations..
When such misdeclarations are done, it does not just affect the ship, the carrier involved and the person who chose to misdeclare their cargo.. These misdeclarations result in cargo damage and affect everyone else’s cargo, especially when entire ships are lost..
Millions of dollars worth of goods and assets are lost due to this, not to mention the huge impact on the environment and the loss of life (human or otherwise)..
IMO and other stakeholders took these misdeclarations seriously and SOLAS VGM came into effect.. Life after SOLAS VGM seems to be hunky dory and no major incidents have been reported in relation to weight misdeclarations..
However, the recent spate of maritime disasters is causing some worries to the container lines.. Having had first-hand experience with such misdeclarations and maritime disasters, the world’s largest container line – Maersk Line – has put its foot down on these misdeclared cargoes..
On the 6th of March 2018, Maersk Honam, one of Maersk’s ultra-large containerships caught fire in the Arabian Sea while en-route from Singapore to Egypt.. Five crew members perished in this incident which was one of several maritime disasters especially to have affected container ships in recent history..
Based on the lessons learnt from the Maersk Honam incident, Maersk Line announced that after a thorough review of current safety practices and policies in the stowage of dangerous cargo, they have implemented a set of new guidelines termed Risk Based Dangerous Goods Stowage to improve safety across its container vessel fleet..
Maersk Line has just revealed plans that the Maersk Honam will be resurrected..
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), operators of the MSC Zoe from which around 281 containers went overboard, confirms that significant progress has been made in an unprecedented clean-up operation in the North Sea and on the beaches of the Netherlands and Germany..
Apart from the salvage efforts, there seems to be some interesting developments brewing..
It is only Day 4 of 2019 and we have already had containers going overboard, search for survivors from a car carrier fire has been called off and now a fire on board the Yantian Express a container ship operated by Hapag Lloyd..
2019 certainly seems to be challenging the norm..!!! 🙂 While we certainly don’t need more of this, let’s see what else 2019 is about to throw at the world of shipping and freight..