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Maersk Essen – containers lost at sea – update

Maersk Essen containers falling off a shipFurther to previous reports about containers falling overboard from the Maersk Essen, it has been reported that the vessel has arrived at Lazaro Cardenas, modern, deep-water port on the Pacific Coast that serves Mexico City..

But the vessel will only berth on the 30th of January after which cargo operations will commence..

As per claims consultancy WK Webster (WKW), this decision to berth at Lazaro Cardenas may have been prompted by the requirement of a berth where prolonged cargo operation can be carried out, and this may not have been possible in Los Angeles or other US West Coast terminals considering the current congestion there..

WKW have cargo surveyors, nautical experts and a legal presence in place and are examining what will be “very complex factual and liability issues”..

They are also said to be finalising access agreements with the vessel owners and with Maersk for their appointed expert to board the vessel to carry out investigations into the cause of the casualty and they expect that attendance to take place at Lazaro Cardenas..

While WKW continues to liaise with the vessel’s representatives regarding the status of the containers to accurately determine which containers were lost overboard and the stowage positions of those remaining on board, they have reportedly already received instructions for a significant amount of cargo on board or lost overboard..

It is probable that some containers may be unsuitable for on-carriage and may require to be trans-loaded or dealt with locally..

WKW is also reporting that considering that the vessel has been diverted to a port of refuge, it is possible that Shipowners may seek to declare general average in respect of permissible GA expenses such as port of refuge, storage and on forwarding costs although they are awaiting clarification from Maersk on this particular point..

In the meantime, Maersk has advised that all damaged containers will be discharged and impacted clients will be informed although they have no timeline yet pending the berthing of the vessel and a damage assessment..

They have also mentioned that routing updates have been made in their systems to reflect the Lazaro Cardenas discharge for the containers that are potentially damaged and have encouraged customers to track their shipments on the Maersk website to see the updated routing..

For containers that have not been damaged, they are exploring 4 routing scenarios :

  1. Cargo remains onboard/vessel sails Lazaro Cardenas to Pier 400 Los Angeles
  2. Load Maersk Essen cargo on another vessel in Lazaro Cardenas for transit to Los Angeles
  3. Cargo routing via rail by Kansas City Southern (KCS) to Los Angeles and final destinations as originally booked
  4. Customers consider leaving cargo in Mexico for use in their Mexico City supply chain

WKW had originally posted a drone video of the damage on the Maersk Essen after it arrived at Lazardo Cardenas but they had to remove it in response to a request from Maersk..

We regret to advise that we have removed our copyright drone footage of the Maersk Essen following a request from Maersk.” said their website..

They have advised anyone concerned with any cargo on board the Maersk Essen must contact them as soon as possible..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. I appreciate your articles in simple language, based on the shipping industry, subjects of interest about day to day issues faced by practicing professionals Apart from your blog

  2. WK Webster (WKW) are well known as General Average (GA)adjusters and surveyors and there is little doubt that GA has already been declared. WKW also provide cargo claims recovery services for cargo insurers against shipowners and their P&I clubs. WKW will therefore be looking for evidence that the vessel was not in a seaworthy/cargoworthy condition before or at the beginning of the voyage to prevent Maersk from relying on the Hague/Hague Visby or US COGSA shipowner defences that will be contained in the Bills of Lading for all damaged cargo. So, yes, WKW will be striving to get their experts on board and Maersk’s P&I will be striving to restrict WKW’s access to a minimum and only under tightly controlled conditions. It’s an old game and WKW and the P&I lawyers will makes lots of money regardless.


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