Singapore-based Grace Ocean has officially declared General Average on its vessel, the Maersk-chartered and operated Dali, which was involved in the Francis Scott Key Bridge allision. 

The Loadstar reported there was a credible rumour that General Average had been called to recoup the colossal damage costs associated with the bridge collapse in Baltimore.  

General Average is a maritime principle where all parties involved in a sea voyage share any losses incurred, and the share a shipper will pay correlates with their share of the cargo. The shipowner, manager, and charterer will also be partly liable.      

While Maersk has yet to make an official statement, MSC confirmed: “Maersk Line informed us today that the vessel owner has declared General Average.”

The decision indicates that the owner expects the salvage operations to result in extraordinarily high costs,  which will be recouped by contributions from all parties involved under General Average. 

The 9,000 teu container vessel Dali is chartered from Grace Ocean and operated by Maersk, but deployed on the Empire service, it was carrying MSC customers’ cargo.  

General Average security will now be required from involved parties before their cargo can be released.  This is an estimated fee for an individual’s cost share of the damage to the cargo, ship, bridge and salvaging costs.

Richards Hogg Lindley (RHL) has been appointed as the general adjuster and has informed MSC it will keep all containers until security arrangements have been made with the average adjusters, both for General Average and salvage. 

MSC said: “No indication is communicated so far as when and where the vessel will be berthed and discharged.” 

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RHL advised: “Freight forwarders should urgently provide RHL with a full breakdown of any LCL/groupage containers as soon as possible in order to readily identify all the individual shipments within the container.” 

“Please treat this as a matter of utmost urgency to avoid unnecessary delay, cargo cannot be released until the General Average requirements have been met.” 

Once security deposits are collected, insurers will need to calculate the actual value of the goods onboard the vessel to work out the full amount owed by each shipper. This is the General Average adjustment.  

“The big issue is to establish the value, because you don’t know what was inside each of the containers,” Patrizia Kern, chief insurance officer at embedded cargo insurance provider Breeze told The Loadstar added that, "from historical data, this process could often take four to five years."

Source: The Loadstar 


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Issue 90 of Robban Assafina

(Mar./April 2024)


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