Hapag-Lloyd Announces Steep Penalty for Failure to Declare Dangerous Goods

yantian express closeup
The fire onboard the Hapag-Lloyd containership Yantian Express started in a single container on January 3, 2019, and spread to additional containers on deck. Here is the ship pictured January 15, 2019 in the Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Cameron Brunick

German containership Hapag-Llloyd has announced it will be implementing a steep penalty for mis-declaration of dangerous goods in order to ensure the safety of its crews, ships and other cargo onboard.

Hapag-Lloyd said the fine will be implemented from September 16, 2019 in the amount of $15,000 per container.

The company said the penalty is meant in the overall interest of safe operation onboard its ships.

Back in January, a fire broke out in the cargo area of the Hapag-Lloyd containership Yantian Express as it made its way across the Atlantic to Canada. While not all cargo onboard was impacted by the fire, General Average was declared and it took months for shippers to retrieve the shipments during a lengthy salvage operation in Freeport, Bahamas.

“To ensure the safety of our crew, ships and other cargo onboard, Hapag-Lloyd holds the Shipper liable and responsible for all costs and consequences related to violations, fines, damages, incidents, claims and corrective measures resulting from cases of undeclared or misdeclared cargoes,” Hapag-Lloyd said in a notice to customers announcing the penalty.

The company said failure to properly properly declare hazardous cargoes prior to shipment is a violation of the Hazardous Material Regulations. Violators could also be subject to monetary fines and/or criminal prosecution under applicable law.