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Two-thirds of the owners of cargo on the fire-hit Yantian Express face further costs to retrieve their goods after others failed to contribute towards general average.
Exactly five months after the fire aboard the Hapag-Lloyd vessel, ONE issued an advisory that general average and salvage security had still not been posted for a third of the affected containers.
One shipping source told The Loadstar this would “almost definitely” result in higher costs for cargo owners that did contribute towards the general average as administrators look to recoup the money.
“Maybe that one-third of owners realised it was not financially viable, or worthwhile, paying general average as, once paid, they would have to not only retrieve the cargo but then find someone to sell it to,” said the source.
“But their decision will affect the remaining two-thirds, as the administrators will turn to them to cover the shortfall if they themselves cannot sell it for more than peanuts.”
Following the blaze, which broke out on 3 January in the mid-Atlantic, salvors moved the ship to Freeport where it has since been moored. General average was declared at the end of January and on 5 February, the GA surveyor identified 202 containers that were a total loss and another 460, stored in the affected areas, that required inspection.
In an update on 11 April, owner Hapag-Lloyd said the fire-hit ship was expected to depart for its next port of call at the end of the month, but warned this was in doubt as a number of cargo owners had still not paid general average and salvage security.
ONE’s latest update calls on the remaining one-third of cargo owners to “immediately” provide general average and salvage security to allow the containers to be delivered.
“Dependent on final technical approval of vessel class and refitting of hatch covers, Yantian Express is now likely to depart from Freeport during the first half of May with the remaining cargo onboard,” says the advisory.
“The vessel shall then proceed to Halifax for delivery of remaining cargo, and the exact date will be confirmed once forward schedule and terminal arrangements have been finally concluded.”