Evergreen Marine declares general average damage on stranded vessel
The owners of the stranded freighter Ever Forward declared general average after unsuccessful attempts to refloat the ship.
Evergreen Marine, owner of the ship, made the statement after two failed attempts to get it running again. General average is said to be a principle of maritime law whereby the shipowner and cargo interests share the cost of recovery after a major loss. The same statement was made when the Ever Given was trapped in the Suez Canal last year for six days.
According to Velta International Freight Management: “The maritime principle of general average is defined in the rules of York Antwerp and is one of the most established and widely recognized laws in maritime transport. […] When trying to ensure the safety of the crew and the ship during an emergency, the crew has a limited time to determine the origin of the sacrificed cargo. To make things fair for everyone, the grand average is designed to spread risk, dividing all costs incurred proportionally.
The Ever Forward, a 1,095ft vessel that weighs around 130,000 tonnes, is currently stuck off Pasadena, Maryland after running aground between the US cities of Baltimore and Norfolk. It is understood the vessel was carrying around 5,000 containers when it ran aground.
According to NPR, he apparently missed a turn as he left Baltimore, which led to him ending up in the shallow waters of Pasadena, where he remained for three weeks.
NPR also reported that while the vessel needed 42 feet of water to operate, it was only 24 feet deep, leaving it buried in about fifteen feet of mud.
Evergreen Marine released a detailed statement on its website Thursday. He said that since the vessel ran aground on March 13, the company had made every effort to refloat it. But the increase in costs linked to the operation had forced it to declare General Average.
He said: “After the incident, Evergreen immediately activated its emergency response plan and appointed lifeguard Donjon-Smit to conduct underwater inspections and devise a salvage plan. The program included dredging around the stranded vessel to increase buoyancy and deploying tugs for the salvage operation. With the approval of the competent authorities, the dredging operation began on March 20. After completion of the initial dredging phase, the salvage team made two attempts to refloat Ever Forward on 29 and 30 March. Unfortunately, both attempts were unsuccessful. ”
He added: “Given that the complexity of subsequent salvage operations will require more manpower, equipment and cost to refloat the stranded vessel as soon as possible, Evergreen has, for the sake of caution, said General Average and appointed Richards Hogg Lindley as GA fitter.”
Ever Forward shouldn’t pose the same problems as Ever Given last year. At the time, when he was finally unseated, analysts at Fitch Ratings warned that a “large chunk” of industry losses would likely be reinsured.
As Reinsurance News reported, estimates showed the disruption caused by the lockdown was impacting global trade by $6 billion to $10 billion a day. Meanwhile, specialty broker McGill and Partners estimated that the re/insurance industry could have faced costs in excess of $100 million due to the obstruction by Suez.