25 JAN 2021 

The Maersk containership that suffered a significant container loss In the Pacific while sailing toward Los Angeles is now diverting south to Mexico. The 13,100 TEU Maersk Essen is expected to arrive on January 29 in the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico as a port of refuge for cargo operations.

The Maersk Essen had departed China on December 26 on its regular route taking it across the Pacific to Los Angeles, where it was scheduled to arrive on January 22. It is believed it was approximately 430 nautical miles north northeast of Hawaii on January 16 when it encountered a storm. Approximately 750 containers were lost overboard.

According to Maersk, the vessel will call at the APM Terminals Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico. MSC, which had containers aboard the vessel is reporting that Maersk intends to discharge cargo, perform emergency repairs, then reload cargo and proceed to Los Angeles. It is expected that this may take about two to three weeks.

The cargo claims consultancy, WK Webster is speculating that with the US West Coast terminals already extremely busy, “It is likely that this decision was prompted by the requirement for berth space for what is probably a prolonged cargo operation.” Earlier this week the Los Angeles Times reported there were 45 vessels at anchor in San Pedro Bay waiting for terminal space in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Webster says that it is also are seeking confirmation from Maersk that they intend to forward cargo to Los Angeles as originally scheduled.

The decision to send the vessel to a port of refuge also introduces the possibility of use of general average reports Webster, although they believe it is not likely. “Given that the vessel has now diverted to a port of refuge, it is possible that shipowners may seek to declare general average in respect of permissible GA expenses such as port of refuge, storage and on forwarding costs,” Webster is warning its clients.

MSC also issued a customer advisory to its shippers reporting that they had loaded containers aboard the Maersk Essen as part of MSC’s Pearl service. MSC says it has been advised that about half of the containers lost were from customers of MSC. Additionally, MSC says that it understands from Maersk that there are several dozen damaged MSC containers onboard the vessel.

In a separate customer advisory, MSC also provided an update on the status of a second Maersk boxship that recently experienced a problem. A fire broke out aboard the Maersk Elba off the coast of Spain that had disabled the vessel. When engineers were unable to restart the ship, it was towed to a shipyard in Algeciras for repairs. MSC is advising clients that the Maersk Elba has left Algeciras and is now expected to arrive in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Maersk is arranging feeder vessels for onward carriage of cargo from Wilhelmshaven to Felixstowe, England, Bremerhaven, Germany, and Rotterdam, Netherlands with the cargo expected to reach its destination ports between February 1 and 8. MSC had previously advised customers that it would be picking up unspecified costs to avoid a declaration of general average for its customers with cargo aboard the Maersk Elba.


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