Baltimore bridge
Photo: US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandro Rivera

Singapore-based Grace Ocean has officially declared General Average on its vessel, the Maersk-chartered and operated Dali, which was involved in the Francis Scott Key Bridge allision. 

General Average is a maritime principle where all parties involved in a sea voyage share any losses incurred, and the share a shipper will pay correlates with their share of the cargo. The shipowner, manager, and charterer will also be partly liable.      

While Maersk has yet to make an official statement, MSC confirmed: “Maersk Line informed us today that the vessel owner has declared General Average.” 

The decision indicates that the owner expects the salvage operations to result in extraordinarily high costs, which will be recouped by contributions from all parties involved under General Average. 

The 9,000 teu container vessel Dali is chartered from Grace Ocean and operated by Maersk, and deployed on the 2M’s TP12/Empire service, and as such was also carrying MSC customers’ cargo.

Israeli carrier Zim is slot charterer on the service. 

General Average security will now be required from involved parties before their cargo can be released. This is an estimated fee for an individual’s cost share of the damage to the cargo, ship, bridge and salvaging costs.  

Skip to 9:12 on the latest episode of The Loadstar Podcast to hear guests discuss the ‘blame game’ of the Francis Scott Key Bridge cost breakdown:

Richards Hogg Lindley (RHL) has been appointed as the general adjuster and has informed MSC it will keep all containers until security arrangements have been made. 

MSC said: “No indication is communicated so far as when and where the vessel will be berthed and discharged.” 

RHL advised: “Freight forwarders should urgently provide RHL with a full breakdown of any LCL/groupage containers as soon as possible in order to readily identify all the individual shipments within the container.” 

“Please treat this as a matter of utmost urgency to avoid unnecessary delay, cargo cannot be released until the General Average requirements have been met.” 

“The big issue is to establish the value, because you don’t know what was inside each of the containers,” Patrizia Kern, chief insurance officer at embedded cargo insurance provider Breeze told The Loadstar.  She added that, from historical data, this process could often take four to five years.

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