Maersk Line’s ultra large containership Maersk Honam, which was hit by a major fire on March 6, will be towed to Jebel Ali, the UAE, where its cargo will be off-loaded.
The estimated time of arrival (ETA) is still to be confirmed, and may be approximately two weeks from now, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said citing its 2M alliance partner. The salvage operation is led by Smit Salvage and Ardent.
“Based on a limited amount of information to hand, MSC reasonably expects that a substantial proportion of the cargo located after, behind the ship’s accommodation area should be in sound condition. Unfortunately, we must assume, based on the details to date, that most containers located in front of the accommodation area are damaged by fire, heat or the water used to fight the fire,” MSC said in a customer advisory.
“We will only be able to clarify the situation once the cargo has been discharged at the port of refuge and inspected.”
Maersk Line said earlier that the berthing and discharging operations of the fire-ravaged boxship would result in high extraordinary costs.
The company has therefore decided to declare General Average, under which all parties with a financial interest in the voyage are to proportionally share the losses resulting from the incident.
The Danish carrier appointed Richards Hogg Lindley (RHL), London as the General Adjuster and they will keep all containers under their control until security arrangements have been made with the Average Adjusters, both for General Average and Salvage.
The fire has claimed the lives of five of 27 seafarers that were manning the ship prior to the incident.
A full investigation into the case is expected to determine the cause of the fire and the impact to the vessel and cargo.