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Fire on Board - What it can mean to NZ exporters

On 6 March the MAERSK HONAM vessel suffered an explosion followed by a large fire while it was 340 nautical miles off Agatti Island in the Indian Ocean. Firefighting efforts by the crew failed and they had to abandon ship. It was on its way from Singapore, a major transshipment port for NZ exports, to Europe at the time. While the fire hasn’t been fully extinguished it has been brought under control. The vessel has suffered extensive fire damage, so the cargo is likely to be either declared a total loss or have have suffered fire, heat, smoke and water damage.

General average has been declared. What this means is that even in the event that the items a business was importing weren’t damaged, all businesses must contribute to the loss suffered by those on board that do suffer a loss. This is why it is so important to have cargo coverage as you can suffer a major financial loss even if your own goods aren’t damaged once General Average has been declared.

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