General Average has officially been declared for the fire-stricken Yantian Express.
The 7,500 TEU vessel was on route to Halifax, Canada when a fire broke out in a container on board on 3 January and quickly spread to surrounding containers.
Attempts to bring the fire under control were hampered by bad weather, and, based on the information it has available, Ocean Network Express (ONE) has warned customers to expect significant damage to cargo stored in the front sections of the vessel.
Hapag-Lloyd have confirmed that General Average has been declared and that UK based Richard Hogg Lindley have been appointed to collect General Average and salvage security from the parties who have goods on board the vessel.
The Yantian Express is currently on route to Freeport in the Bahamas and is expected to arrive within the next couple of days. However, shippers with cargo aboard which is salvageable are advised that there is likely to be high costs and lengthy delays involved in retrieving their goods.
Last year a fire aboard the Maersk Honam resulted in salvage security costs being set at 42.5% of the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of the cargo, along with an additional 11.5% for General Average security. Shippers were also billed for the retrieval of their goods from the port of refuge to their final destinations, at an additional charge of $750 per 20ft container and $1.250 per 40ft container.
These incidents, although rare, serve as an important reminder to all shippers to ensure that adequate insurance is in place against their goods, to avoid costly outlays should such an event occur.