Yantian Express: container fire - updated 2/4/2019

UPDATE as of February 4: Hapag-Lloyd has appointed Richards Hogg Lindley, General Average and Salvage Adjusters to prepare the General Average and Salvage adjustment and to collect the General Average and Salvage security from parties with cargo on the ship. Cargo will only be released upon provision of the required security.

Here are the Standard Instructions provided by Richards Hogg Lindley:

If you have questions regarding the provision of the required security, you can contact Richards Hogg Lindley directly. They will be able to provide further information about the required General Average security for insured and uninsured cargo. 

Richards Hogg Lindley Average Adjusters and Marine Claims Consultants  



UPDATE as of January 29: Yantian Express is still en route to Freeport Bahamas. The current plan is to offload all cargo from the vessel. Following that, further information will be provided about what cargo may proceed to the next port of call. However, the timing of this is not clear yet. 


UPDATE as of January 25: The Yantian Express is en route to Freeport, Bahamas, and should arrive the week of January 28. Due to the fire, General Average has been declared. General Average is a principle of maritime law that requires all stakeholders to share any losses resulting from extraordinary events that threaten the safety of the vessel, cargo, and crew.

The York-Antwerp rules regarding General Average state that, "There is a general average act when, and only when, any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure." 

The costs related to extinguishing a fire on a ship, and the related damage done to a ship and cargo, are allowed as general average. Damage caused by smoke or by heat is not included in the general average. In addition, demurrage, loss of market, and any loss or damage sustained or expense incurred due to delay is also not allowed as general average. 

Average Adjusters will be appointed to coordinate the collection of documentation and General Average securities. Prior to cargo being released, all parties will be required to contribute to the General Average fund. Further information will be provided by Hapag-Lloyd.


UPDATE as of January 18: The fire is widely contained. On January 15, the ocean-going tug “Union Sovereign” arrived to further assist the operations. Another ocean-going tug is on its way. At this time, Hapag-Lloyd is unable to provide the possible port of refuge and estimated time of arrival. 

Import customs filings should be delayed until the date and arrival port have been determined. If import customs filings have been completed, customers are advised to investigate with their customs brokers to determine the appropriate course of action.


UPDATE as of January 10: Hapag-Lloyd has reported that the fire has been brought under control and is contained. Five crew members were transferred from the Smit Nicobar tug boat back to the Yantian Express, and the ship is being towed to Halifax by the Maersk Mobiliser. It is expected to arrive in Halifax on January 20.  

All cargo in Bay 12 on deck and forward is directly affected by the fire, as has all cargo in Hold 1 (Bay 1 to 9). They also expect that all cargo in Hold 2 (Bay 11 to 17) is affected by fire, smoke, water. In addition, there may be damage caused by smoke, heat, or water in adjacent areas.

All reefers in Bay 1 to 24 are without power and switched off. All other bays with reefers have been continuously supplied with power and are in operation.


On January 3, a fire broke out in a container on the Yantian Express and then spread to other containers. Despite the ongoing firefighting support from the salvage tug “Smit Nicobar,” the fire has not been contained as of January 7. The crew was evacuated from the ship, and the firefighting efforts with the salvage tug are continuing. 

The ship is approximately 800 nautical miles off the coast of Canada (Nova Scotia). The commercial tugboat Maersk Mobiliser is en route and plans to tow the vessel to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

At this time, Hapag-Lloyd has not been able to provide an estimate of the damage to the cargo. If you're tracking containers on the Yantian Express, you'll see the vessel is flagged as being late, but we have no further updates about when the fire may be contained or when to expect your shipments. 

Be sure to check your dashboard for the most recent information. We'll post further updates here as necessary. 

Was this article helpful?
1 out of 1 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request