On the 3rd of Jan 2019, part of the Yantian Express a 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 Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung (BSU) or Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation undertook an investigation on the fire on board and the results have been released..
This investigation report demonstrates that it is not all that easy to pinpoint the exact cause and reason for such incidents but it does a great job in identifying certain possibilities and also finding out other information in the meantime.. Truly interesting..
The route to the conclusions reached by the investigators is very interesting to read and shows the many important considerations that are required when preparing your cargo for export..
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..