Yantian Express Nearly Ready to Depart Freeport as Hapag-Lloyd Awaits Past Due General Average Submissions

yantian express fire
The Yantian Express pictured in the Atlantic Ocean on January 15, 2019. Photo: Cameron Brunick

Hapag-Lloyd says repairs are nearing completion on board the fire-stricken containership Yantian Express in Freeport, Bahamas.

According to a May 1 customer update, the vessel is now expected to depart Freeport with remaining cargo on board during the first half of this month dependent upon class approval and refitting of hatch covers on board the vessel.

“Vessel repairs are now nearing completion and accordingly declaration of seaworthiness is expected shortly,” the update said.

The fire started in a single container and quickly spread to additional aboard the Yantian Express on January 3 as the ship was underway in the Atlantic Ocean bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia. The ship was eventually towed to Freeport, Bahamas for repairs.

Hapag-Lloyd eventually declared General Average, requiring all cargo owners are required to contribute to a general average fund to help with salvage costs.

Despite containers in the fire-impacted cargo holds being discharged and ready for transshipment back in March, undamaged cargo elsewhere on the vessel has remained on board the vessel, unable to to be discharged, now five months after the first stared.

According to Hapag-Lloyd, however, the general average and salvage security has still not been posted for about one third of containers concerned, complicating the process.

“In order to assist progress of vessel operational proceedings and salvage company approval, we again encourage all cargo interests to immediately provide the requested General Average and Salvage security in order to allow the containers to be delivered,” Hapag-Lloyd said.

If cargo owners don’t pay up, not only will they not receive their cargo, but it could mean higher costs for customers still wanting to retrieve whatever it is they’ve had stuck onboard the vessel for months now.