The fire-damaged Maersk Honam will be towed to Jebel Ali where its undamaged cargo will be offloaded, according to a statement from Mediterranean Shipping Company, Maersk’s partner in the 2M shipping alliance.
In a statement to its customer issued Thursday, MSC said it has been informed by Maersk that the Maersk Honam will be headed for Jebel Ali, but it may still be two weeks before the vessel and it’s ETA has not yet been confirmed.
The 353-meter Maersk Honam, an ultra-large container ship (ULCS) only recently delivered in 2017, caught fire on March 6 in the Arabian Sea en route to the Mediterranean Sea, via the Suez Canal. The incident claimed the lives of five crew members. The remains of three out of four of the missing crew members were found onboard Maersk Honam, Maersk announced about a week after the fire started.
We reached out to Maersk Line for comment and received the following statement:
The fire remains under control and salvage work continues, led by Smit and Ardent.The focus is on completing plans to bring Maersk Honam alongside in a suitable port and discharge the cargo. Maersk Honam will most likely be towed to Jebel Ali, Dubai; however, it will probably take a few weeks and further investigations before we will be able to bring the vessel alongside.
According to AIS data received 11 hours ago, the three tugs believed be with the Maersk Honam – the Maersk Involver, Posh Perseverance and Amazon Chieftan Z – reported their location in the northern Arabian Sea heading north at about 4 knots.
The Maersk Honam was reported by Maersk to be carrying a total of 7,860 containers, corresponding to 12,416 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent). The fire, which is now out, ripped through the entire forward section of the ship from bow to the superstructure, destroying hundreds if not thousands of containers. Most cargo behind the superstructure appears to be intact.
The cargo loss forced Maersk to declare general average on 9 March and the company appointed Liverpool-based average adjuster Richards Hogg Lindley to collect the necessary GA security. The basic concept of GA is that all losses, including salvage, port, and transfer costs, are shared between surviving cargo.
“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,” MSC said in its update to customers on Thursday. “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.
“We will only be able to clarify the situation once the cargo has been discharged at the port of refuge and inspected,” the update said.
The Singapore-flagged Maersk Honam was delivered in 2017 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. It has a nominal capacity of 15,262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).