WK Webster
THE MARINE & TRANSIT
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Yantian Express

08 Jan 2019

Yantian Express

------------6th UPDATE------------

* It has now been confirmed that the Owners of the YANTIAN EXPRESS have declared General Average.

* As such it will be now be necessary that to ensure the release of cargo, General Average security will be required in addition to Salvage security.

* The security requirements are yet to be confirmed by the Average Adjusters, however we are in contact with them and will advise immediately once received.

* WKW may be able to assist with the provision of personal Salvage and General Average security, subject of course to our Directors and Insurers prior approval, in instances where security from an Insurer is not acceptable to Salvors or Average Adjusters.

* WKW may be able to issue personal insured security from 0.35% of the guarantee amount, a very competitive rate which we believe to be the lowest available on the market. The bail fee is a one off charge for the duration of the guarantee.

* Furthermore the Port of Refuge has also been confirmed to be Freeport Harbour, Bahamas, with a current estimated arrival of the 30th January, however this is subject to change dependent on weather conditions.

* The Salvors have been able to contain the fire and to a greater extent the fire has now extinguished. However, several hotspots remain and Fire Fighters are seeking to extinguish fires in specific containers. It is unlikely the vessel will be allowed to proceed to berth until all the fires onboard have been extinguished and will be held at an outer anchorage until completed.

* WKW have cargo surveyors on standby in Freeport, Bahamas for cargo surveys where required.

* The water level in cargo hold 2 hold has been reduced from a maximum height of nearly 13 metres to 20 centimetres. However, it is likely that containers in the first 7 tiers will be water damaged to a greater or lessor degree. Furthermore, given the extremely humid conditions in hold 2 hold we would recommend that all containers from that hold be inspected, if practical, prior to the provision of any security.

* The water level in cargo hold 1 hold is currently 8 metres, due to severe cooling activities. As with number 2 hold, we would recommend that all containers from that hold be inspected, if practical, prior to the provision of any security.

* The YANTIAN EXPRESS is now proceeding to Freeport under her own power with two tugs in convoy for assistance and fire fighting operations when required.

* We already represent cargo onboard the vessel valued in excess of USD 10 million, and so may be able to offer considerable economies in scale with regards to 3rd party costs.

* Should you insure any cargo onboard the YANTIAN EXPRESS we recommend you contact us urgently so we may seek to protect your position.

------------5th UPDATE------------

* As a result of the severe winter weather in Halifax, Canada, ice and snow may cause unsafe working conditions during fire fighting and cooling operations. As such the Salvors have advised that the port of refuge (POR) may change to the Bahamas for a better working environment.

* Whilst the POR is yet to be confirmed we are making arrangements for local surveyors to be on standby for cargo surveys in the Bahamas in addition to Halifax if required.

* Progress towing the vessel has been slow as a result of the weather conditions with winds speeds of 50Kts and 50ft seas.

* Fire fighting and cooling is still on-going where required within the affected holds.

* Extinguishing efforts have been complicated in cargo hold 1 with 5 containers identified to contain a cargo of Titanium Sponge Granules, which can explode or give off poisonous vapours, if exposed to heat or water. A significant amount of water has been sprayed over the area where the containers are stowed; however this has now been suspended due to the risk the cargo poses.

* A number of containers in hold 1 have been detected to be emitting heat and flames however due to restrictions on water being spread into the hold, the Salvors have installed water jets/nozzles to create a full water screen between bay 16 and bay 20 to avoid flame transfer.

* A further container has been identified to be carrying a cargo of matches, which has been subsequently flooded by the Salvors. In bay 12, containers containing charcoal are reported to be smouldering.

* The water level in cargo hold 2 was recorded by the Salvors to be 12.70 meters (approximately 6 tiers high) however with the installation of water pumps this has now started to reduce and today was recorded at 12.00 meters. The de-watering of the hold is being hampered by water having to be sprayed into the hold as required to extinguish fires.

* Various dangerous goods containers stowed in hold 1 need cooling, with two fire hoses being utilised. Heavy smoke has been reported to be emanating from one container.

* Due to the salvage operation on-going, the Salvors security demand is yet to be quantified and will not be finalised for some time yet. We are in contact with the necessary parties receiving updates.

* WKW may be able to assist with the provision of personal Salvage and if declared, General Average security, subject of course to our Directors and Insurers prior approval, in instances where security from an Insurer is not acceptable to Salvors or Average Adjusters.

* WKW may be able to issue personal insured security from 0.35% of the guarantee amount, a very competitive rate which we believe to be the lowest available on the market. The bail fee is a one off charge for the duration of the guarantee.

* We already represent cargo onboard the vessel valued in excess of USD 10 million, and so may be able to offer considerable economies in scale with regards to 3rd party costs.

* Should you insure any cargo onboard the YANTIAN EXPRESS we recommend you contact us urgently so we may seek to protect your position.

------------4th UPDATE------------

* As a result of the fire in the bow of the vessel, it has been reported by the Owners that all cargo in Bay 12 and in Hold 1 (Bay 1 to 9) on deck and forward have been directly affected by the fire.

* Furthermore it is also expected that all of the cargo in Hold 2 (Bay 11 to 17) are likely to be affected by fire, smoke or extinguishing water.

* Reefer containers in Bay 1 to 24 were without power and switched off, so temperature sensitive goods will have been affected. It has been advised that all other bays with reefer containers were continuously supplied with power and were in operation.

* Given the severity of this incident it is very likely the Owners will declare General Average (GA) and in turn GA security will be required in addition to salvage security before delivery of the goods.

* WKW may be able to assist with the provision of personal Salvage and General Average security, subject of course to our Directors and Insurers prior approval, in instances where security from an Insurer is not acceptable to Salvors or Average Adjusters.

* WKW may be able to issue personal insured security from 0.35% of the guarantee amount, a very competitive rate which we believe to be the lowest available on the market. The bail fee is a one off charge for the duration of the guarantee.

* At this point it is our recommendation that no security is provided for cargoes which are known to be stowed in the affected holds / bays until the extent of any damage has been confirmed following survey in Halifax, Canada, which has been confirmed as the Port of Refuge. We will make enquiries with the necessary parties for confirmation of the affected containers in order surveys can be arranged.

* WKW have retained surveyors to attend cargo surveys when and where necessary to determine the extent and cause of any damage ahead of the provision of security, these measures are of course additional to our appointment of a Fire Expert who will investigate the cause of this Fire.

* Gas readings onboard have indicated raised carbon monoxide and gaseous hydrogen levels. As such the entrance hatch to cargo hold 2 has been opened for ventilation purposes ahead of the salvors installing two de-watering pumps. Cargo holds 1 and 3 can be dewatered via the vessels own bilge pumps.

* The tow connection between the YANTIAN EXPRESS and MAERSK MOBILISER has now been established, the tug and tow are located some 700 miles off the Canadian coast.

* A skeleton crew have returned onboard the vessel for inspections and monitoring the vessel during towing.

* Controlled Fire fighting and boundary cooling are on-going as required when flames / hot-spots are detected onboard, however the fire is reported to be under control.

* We already represent cargo onboard the vessel valued in excess of USD 10 million, and so may be able to offer considerable economies in scale with regards to 3rd party costs.

* Should you insure any cargo onboard the YANTIAN EXPRESS we recommend you contact us urgently so we may seek to protect your position.

------------3rd UPDATE------------

* The YANTIAN EXPRESS is currently drifting whilst attending tugs are on permanent fire watch and dousing hot spots and visible fires that ignite with short water blasts.

* Heavy smoke is reported to still be emanating from the bow of the vessel.

* Weather conditions at the casualty are reported to be difficult with high winds, waves of 6 meters and heavy rain which are hampering efforts and preventing the salvors from boarding the vessel.

* It has been reported that one container carrying dangerous goods has exploded and there are concerns over the stability of the vessel as a result of the water being sprayed onto it. As such extinguishing efforts have had to be controlled and directed where necessary to manage the situation.

* As a result of the fire fighting water sprayed over the vessel, flooding in cargo holds 1 and 2 has occurred and as such it is expected containers stowed within the affects holds may suffer from water ingress. Pumps have been installed within the holds to remove water however due to the quantity sprayed, the pumps could not remove the water at the same rate.

* In addition to fire, heat and water damage, smoke contamination is also likely to have occurred to some containers / cargo.

* The vessel has a capacity of 7506 TEU and from pictures of the casualty, it appears to be loaded near capacity.

* The US Coast Guard have advised that it is intended the YANTIAN EXPRESS, once the fire has been completely extinguished, will be towed to Halifax, Canada, however this is yet to be confirmed by the Owners.

* As advised previously, salvage assistance is being provided under a LOF contract and as such security will be required from all cargo interests onboard the vessel before delivery at destination will be completed. Given that salvage assistance is still on-going, the security requirements are yet to be confirmed however we are in contact with the necessary parties and receiving updates.

* General Average has not as of yet been declared. However given the likely damage to cargo by way of the extinguishing efforts it is likely the Owners will declare General Average at some point, which will then require cargo interests to provide suitable General Average security.

* WKW may be able to assist with the provision of salvage security in due course once the requirements have been confirmed and General Average security also, if declared.

* Furthermore should it be advised that your cargo has suffered any damage as a result of the fire / smoke / fire fighting water, we may able to assist with surveys required either at the port of the refuge, once confirmed, or upon delivery at destination.

* At the moment whilst the precise cause of the fire is currently unknown and investigations will not be able to commence for sometime, we have retained a fire expert to investigate the cause of the fire, and will be attending onboard once safe to do so, with the agreement of the necessary parties. The investigations of our fire expert will greatly assist with any recovery efforts for damaged cargoes against the Owners of the vessel, Charters, bill of lading carriers and NVOCC's. Consideration will also need to be given to any applicable limitations available to the Owners and bill of lading carriers including but not limited to tonnage limitation in the case of the Owners, and package limitation under the Hague or Hague-Visby Rules with regards to bills of lading. We are well placed to assist cargo underwriters in this regard with extensive experience handling and pursuing claims against Shipowners, Charters and bill of lading carrier's world wide.

* Our team consists of Lawyers, Master Mariners, former P&I and Average Adjusters to comprehensively cover all aspects of an incident such as this. Furthermore we have offices located in London, Singapore and New York to ensure assistance is available 24/7 and team members who can speak your local language should this be preferred.

* We are already representing cargo interests on board the vessel, and may be able to provide certain economies in scale with regards to 3rd party costs including our appointed fire expert.

* In order for us to assist you further on this matter, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible, should you have any exposure onboard the YANTIAN EXPRESS.

------------2nd UPDATE------------

We have received the following update:

* The US Coast Guard are monitoring the situation and the vessel is currently not under command.

* The fire fighting tug SMIT NICOBAR remains on the scene and is fighting the fire.

* We have already received instructions from Cargo Interests, so we may be able to offer certain economies of scale in respect of any third party costs which may need to be incurred.

* We have retained a Fire Expert and have Surveyors on standby to attend.

* Please contact us urgently if you are concerned with any of the cargo carried on board the YANTIAN EXPRESS so that we may immediately start taking steps to protect your interests.


-------------UPDATE--------------

We have received the following update:

* Because of the intensity of the fire and the adverse weather conditions the crew were evacuated from the vessel between 5th/6th January, 2019 and taken on board tug SMIT NICOBAR. The tug continued with the fire fighting operations.

* The Salvage Tug MAERSK MOBILISER' has left St John's and is proceeding to the vessel in order to tow her towards Halifax.

* Shipowners have appointed SMIT as Salvors on LOF terms.

* As is customary when LOF is agreed, prior to delivery of any cargo, security will have to be provided from a first class source in the UK.

* We may be able to assist with the provision of the required salvage securities.

* Should you insure any of the cargo carried on-board the YANTIAN EXPRESS and require our assistance, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible.

-------------ORIGINAL-------------


* Fully cellular containership YANTIAN EXPRESS whilst approximately 650 nautical miles off the coast of Canada on the 4th January, 2019, experienced a fire in a container which quickly spread to other containers.

* Efforts to extinguish the fire in the containers was immediately commenced but had to be suspended due to a significant deterioration in the weather conditions.

* It is possible that General Average / Salvage / Recovery issues may arise as a result of this incident.

* Should you be concerned with any cargo carried on board this vessel and require our assistance we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible in order that we may immediately start taking steps to protect your interests.

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