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Category: Global Supply Chain

Global Supply Chain News: Really Bad Month of March for Maersk Line


Two Ship Fires, Port Collision with Another Container Ship, and 76 Containers Overboard in Less than 30 Days

April 3, 2018
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Maersk Line, the world’s largest container operator in terms of capacity, was surely glad to too see the month of March end, with at least four major safety incidents in the period.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

Of the two fires aboard its container shippers within two week of each other, Maersk Line said while the causes of the fires are not known, Initial investigation indicate there is no link between the two.

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Below is a summary of those events.

On March 4th, amid very rough seas 17 miles off the coast of North Carolina, 76 containers were lost from the Maersk Shanghai into the sea, the company reported. The Maersk ship experienced swales of as big as 30 feet and winds up to 65 miles per hour.

One of the containers that was lost contained the often dangerous chemical sulfuric acid, but fears were soon allayed after officials said the chemical quickly dissolves in salt water.

On March 6, a Maersk container ship caught fire in the Arabian Sea.
The Maersk Honam was in route from Singapore to the Suez Canal when a fire broke out in its cargo hull some 1,000 miles off the Oman coast.

Maersk said 23 crew members were evacuated to a nearby vessel named ALS Ceres after sending a distress signal when they could not extinguished the fire. Tragically, the fire left four dead, with another missing and believed dead.

The fire was not easily put out. The next day, Maersk said that "The fire onboard the Maersk Honam continues and the situation on the vessel is very critical."

The 15,000-container ship was half full with 7,680 boxes. The cause of the fire was unknown.

Hundreds of containers aboard the ship were destroyed by the fire. Maersk then declared the condition “general average”, which assumes that both the shipping company and the shippers will have to pay " large economic amounts" to meet the costs of rescue and contribution to the damage.

The declaration of "general average" obliges all merchandise owners to set up financial guarantees, through their insurance of the merchandise, the Maersk statement added

Then on March 15, the 5,616-TEU Maersk Kensington reported a fire in a cargo hold while in route from Salalah, Oman towards Suez.

All 26 crew members were safe and accounted for, and this fire was quickly contained, the liner said.

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Of the two fires aboard its container shippers within two week of each other, Maersk Line said while the causes of the fires are not known, "Initial investigation indicate there is no link between the cargo in the cargo hold where the fire began on Maersk Kensington and the cargo in the cargo hold which caught fire on Maersk Honam on 6 March 2018."

Finally, on Saturday morning March 24, the 4,500 TEU container ship Laura Maersk made contact with the moored boxship MSC Shuba B at the port of Callau in Peru, when a maneuver by the Maersk ship went wrong.

With the accident looming, tug boats intervened, avoiding a more serious collision by pushing the Laura Maersk away from a direct hit on the MSC Shuba B.

Each of the vessels amazingly suffered minor damage, and both of them were soon under way towards their next ports of call.

SCDigest hopes April will be a much better month for Maersk Line.

Any reaction to this terrible month for Maersk? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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