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A major explosion occurred on a container ship! Freight forwarder pays huge compensation of US$290 million

Ting https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/suzILutT8f2ZIA7oFDAJaw 2024-05-24 10:10:59

Recently, after more than a decade of legal disputes, the fire case involving MSC Flaminia was finally settled with a compensation of US$290 million. Global chemicals logistics giant Stolt-Nielsen Group notified a U.S. court this week that the two parties had reached a resolution to the long-running case and agreed to pay up to $290 million in compensation, admitting that they had some responsibility in the accident.

Although the specific terms of the settlement are confidential, the settlement amount was disclosed in Stolt-Nielsen's first quarter 2024 results report. According to the report, the Norwegian company received $133 million from its insurers to partially settle claims from MSC Flaminia.

The U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in 2018 over the devastating fire that occurred aboard the MSC Flaminia in July 2012, finding that dangerous goods manufacturer Deltech and freight forwarder Stolt Tank Containers were responsible for the fire. However, Deltech and Stolt appealed the ruling. But in July 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the preliminary ruling in 2018 and clarified the respective proportions of liability: freight forwarder Stolt bears 45% of the liability, while cargo owner Deltech bears 55% of the liability.

On July 14, 2012, the container ship MSC Flaminia encountered a devastating fire while en route from New Orleans to Antwerp. At that time, smoke was emanating from the No. 4 cargo hold of the ship. The crew judged that there was a container fire and immediately released carbon dioxide to suppress it. In response to the fire, the crew sent a seven-man fire brigade to prepare fire hoses next to the hatch. However, as firefighters attempted to set up hoses, an explosion occurred in the cargo hold. This accident resulted in the death of three crew members, one missing person, and two serious injuries. The ship itself also suffered serious damage, especially most of the cargo containers in the stern of No. 4 cargo hold were completely destroyed.

MSC Flaminia is a container ship with a capacity of 6,750TEU. It was more than 1,000 nautical miles from land in the mid-Atlantic when the fire broke out, and the crew was eventually forced to abandon ship and be rescued by other ships that came to the rescue later.

After the accident, an investigation revealed that Stolt Tank Containers stored 29 tank containers on the ship, three of which were located in Hold 4, where the explosion occurred. On May 29, 2013, the ship's owner, operator, and others filed a claim against Stolt and Deltech (the manufacturer of the dangerous goods), alleging that the tank containers were the cause of the fire and that Stolt failed to adequately warn of the dangers of the cargo. .

The accident caused huge damage to the MSC Flaminia, and shipowner Conti paid a high price in the process of salvaging and repairing the ship. They claimed that the vessel had been chartered to MSC while the vessel was out of service. The arbitrator made a ruling in July 2021, agreeing to compensate Conti approximately US$200 million. Last year, MSC's appeal against this ruling was dismissed by the court.

After more than ten years of development, misdeclared and mispackaged goods are still like a stubborn disease, continuing to plague the shipping industry and becoming a major challenge it faces. Here is a reminder: Do not declare dangerous goods as ordinary goods, and do not lie or conceal them. This is not only a disregard for the safety of others, but also a great damage to your own corporate reputation and interests.

The impact of false declarations and concealment of dangerous goods on ships and the entire shipping industry is far-reaching. First of all, this may lead to serious safety accidents during the transportation of the ship, such as fires, explosions, etc., seriously threatening the lives of people on board. Secondly, once an accident occurs, it will not only cause huge economic losses, but also have a serious negative impact on the reputation and credibility of the shipping industry. In addition, false declarations and concealment of dangerous goods may also involve legal issues, and the relevant responsible persons may face huge fines or even criminal liability.

Therefore, shippers are strongly urged to strictly abide by relevant laws and regulations, truthfully declare cargo information, and ensure that dangerous goods are handled and transported correctly. This is not only respect for the life safety of others, but also a responsible attitude towards the long-term development of the company itself.

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