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General Average Declared for ZIM Charleston After Container Fire

Mike Schuler
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August 23, 2022

The law of General Average has been declared for the ZIM Charleston containership following a fire in stacks of containers earlier this month, reports marine casualty management firm WK Webster.

The 8.500 TEU ship suffered a fire in cargo hold no. 4 while underway off of Colombo, Sri Lanka on August 8th. Reports indicate approximately 300 containers may have been affected by the fire and subsequent efforts to extinguish it.

WK Webster said the vessel was reported to have berthed on August 12th at the East Container Terminal in Colombo, where the impacted containers were to be inspected and discharged. It’s unclear whether or not the discharging of cargo has taken place.

In an update on Monday, WK Webster said it been notified that General Average has now been declared by the charterers, Israeli-based ZIM (NYSE: ZIM). The vessel is owned by Seaspan Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary Atlas Corp. (NYSE: ATCO).

ZIM has yet to disclose any details of the incident publicly.

General Average is a maritime law principle requiring that the shipowner and cargo interests proportionately share in the costs associated with rescuing a vessel after a major casualty. When GA is declared, cargo owners are required to contribute to a GA fund before their cargo can be released.

AIS shows that the ZIM Charleston remains at the Port of Colombo currently.

In October 2021, another ZIM vessel, ZIM Kingston, caught fire after losing more than 100 containers overboard off the coast of Washington during a storm. The ship proceeded to an anchorage in British Columbia, where a fire subsequently broke out in some of the impacted boxes that remained on deck.

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