Ship on Fire! Heavy Fines Awaits Misdeclared Dangerous Goods

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Carriers have announced they would impose heavy fines on misdeclared dangerous goods. Just days after this announcement, fire has swept through several containers aboard the APL Le Havre, reports The LoadStar.

Efforts hampered by weather

The Ministry of Defence in Gujarat State said fire had forced a diversion of the 10,100 teu vessel on Friday night, after it left Karachi en route to Mumbai.

Reports claim six boxes were involved, with the Indian coast guard resorting to flooding the boxes after early efforts to tackle the blaze were hampered by heavy weather.

Any damage reported?

The fire was brought under control after four hours.  The damage caused to the 10,000 teu vessel is yet to be determined.

Though APL is yet to release a statement on the incident, no injuries have been reported among the 26 crew members aboard the Singapore-flagged vessel.

A worrying trend

With the TT Club pointing to “a worrying trend” amid claims that one hits every 60 days, this is the latest in a stream of box ship fires.

Fines for misdeclared shipments

Last week, it was reported that Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and OOCL would be imposing fines ranging from $4,000 to $35,000 for misdeclared shipments.

The move was welcomed from all corners of the industry, with risk management director at TT Club Peregrine Storrs-Fox telling, “We welcome such initiatives, following a spate of fires and growing concerns about cargo packing.”

“We have been collaborating with stakeholders through the supply chain to highlight the risks arising from poorly packed and misdeclared cargo.”

Carriers role

Forwarders have been largely pleased by the decision of carriers to play a greater role in trying to mitigate incidents which have cost the lives of several sailors.

  • Hapag-Lloyd, which suffered a high-profile fire, caused by misdeclared cargo, aboard its vessel Yantian Express this year, said it would impose a $15,000 fine per misdeclared box. 
  • OOCL has announced enhanced checks and a hazardous cargo misdeclaration fee.

One forwarder told most of the issues stemmed from a “relatively” small number of rogue shippers, and that the fines would help “weed out these bad apples”.

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Source: The LoadStar

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