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Container Ship Fires Prompt New Fines from Carriers

Posted on 8/12/2019 by Roger Marks

To address an increase in fires aboard shipping vessels, major carriers have announced new fines and security procedures aimed at reducing the number of misdeclared hazardous cargo shipments.

According to the Loadstar, the Evergreen Line has announced fines as high as $35,000 for misdeclared dangerous goods. Hapag-Lloyd will impose a $15,000 fee for each misdeclared box. Hong Kong-based OOCL will also impose fees and strengthen its dangerous goods inspection and verification policies.

OOCL released a statement to customers on July 31, 2019, which reads in part:

“Any inconsistencies between the declared cargo in the documents and what is physically inside the container will result in a Hazardous cargo Misdeclaration Fee. Depending on the type of deficiencies found in such a shipment, the container may be put out of service and the cargo may be put on hold where penalties may be imposed, and charges associated with the misdeclaration will be on the shipper’s account.”

Maersk Line revised its procedures for stowing dangerous goods aboard its vessels in September 2018, following a deadline fire aboard the Maersk Honam that killed five crew members.

According to experts in the field, a fire aboard a shipping vessel occurs about once every 60 days.

The latest edition of the IMDG Code (2018) is available in our online bookstore.

Undeclared Dangerous Goods Put Crews at Risk

Industry experts believe that undeclared dangerous goods are to blame for many of the container ship fires that have made headlines in 2019. In many cases, rogue shippers may be failing to declare their dangerous goods in order to avoid higher fees for hazardous cargo. When dangerous goods are not properly declared or labeled, they may be loaded onto vessels improperly—often in hard to reach areas. In the event of a fire, crews may not be able to promptly reach the at-risk container, allowing the fire to spread.

Even if crews can reach the fire, without proper information about the hazardous materials inside, they are ill-equipped to respond properly and may be unknowingly putting themselves in harm’s way while doing their best to respond.  

IMDG Code Compliance is Critical

Hazardous materials/dangerous goods vessel shippers must ensure compliance with the latest International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) requirements. Mandatory compliance with the 2018 edition of the IMDG Code starts on January 1, 2020.

Lion makes it easy to keep your hazmat training certifications up to date to ship by ground, air, and vessel. The Complete Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Certification Workshops coming to Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, Kansas City, Detroit, and Cincinnati in September and October 2019.

Can’t join us live? Check out convenient online hazmat training options in our catalog here.
 

Tags: fines and penalties, hazmat shipping, IMDG, IMDG Code

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