8 January 2021
* Following a seasonal break in Kobe, Japan, the task of removing collapsed containers from the deck of the ONE APUS resumed on 5th January. As of today, 8th January, 232 containers have been discharged in total.
* It is understood from ONE Line that they also intend to conduct repairs to the vessel's deck simultaneously with the discharge operation as the bays are cleared and they say that this will mean that the operations will be conducted "with slower speed". It seems likely therefore that the discharge operation will take several more weeks to complete. However, contrary to this suggestion, the observed rate of container off-loading has actually increased slightly since the resumption of operations.
* There has been no advance list of containers to be discharged each day and as such, our surveyors have remained at the port of Kobe to conduct an external, visual inspection of containers as and when discharged. Some of the containers discharged are virtually destroyed, whilst others are in relatively good condition.
* We have today been provided with advance notice of 19 containers to be trans-loaded/cross-stuffed into new containers. We expect to see more of this taking place in the coming days and weeks.
* Shipowners and operators have unfortunately not been cooperative as to the status of each container and their stowage positions and we continue to liaise with their representatives in this regard. Meanwhile, we are continuing to press for more detailed surveys of affected containers and their contents.
* Further unconfirmed reports advise of the possibility that the under-deck cargo will remain in situ, such that once the deck spaces are repaired, some containers may be able to be re-loaded on-deck prior to the vessel resuming the voyage. We are again pressing for information on the possibility of containers being forwarded on other vessels or when they might be sent forward on the ONE APUS. However, for the present time shipowners and ONE Line say they are still considering the position.
* It is now well known that a General Average surveyor has been on board to assess the situation and has reported to the shipowners. General Average has not been declared at this stage, but cannot yet be ruled out, although the likelihood of a declaration is considered to be receding as time progresses.
* Our experts have been examining not only our drone footage but also vessel tracking information and meteorological data to assist in understanding the root cause or causes of the casualty. In the meantime, we are discussing issues around the evidence and its preservation with Shipowners representatives to ensure that a proper evaluation can be carried out in due course, particularly once it is permissible to have an expert attend on board the vessel.
*We now represent a very significant amount of cargo on board the ONE APUS. This is generating significant economies of scale for our clients in the handling of this matter, including in relation to third party costs. If you are concerned with any cargo on board this vessel and remain unrepresented, please do contact us urgently so that we may also assist you.
22 December 2020
* A selection of the exclusive drone footage and photographs commissioned by WK Webster is now available to view on our website by visiting https://www.wkwebster.com .
* Containers continue to be off-loaded from the deck of the ONE APUS, but at a slow rate. The current situation, as reported by our team of surveyors, is that the container information we have submitted on behalf of the cargo interests we represent is being checked and the permission of shipowners is being sought to allow disclosure of the status of each container i.e. lost or not lost, on or under deck and stowage positions. We are following up on a daily basis in this regard.
* Shipowners have reported that under deck container stows are unlikely to be off-loaded from the vessel and may therefore be delivered to destination by the ONE APUS once the vessel is ready to sail from Kobe. We continue to liaise with the vessel interests in this regard.
* It is reported that a GA surveyor has attended on board, but at the time of writing General Average has not been declared.
* Our experts continue to investigate the circumstances of the casualty and we are gathering meteorological data relevant to the prevailing weather conditions at the time of the casualty in order to further understand the contributing causes of this incident.
* We would urge you to contact us as soon as possible if you are concerned with any cargo on board the ONE APUS so that we may include you in our investigations and the handling of all aspects of this very serious casualty.
13 December 2020
* Given the seriousness of this incident and the very significant number of cargo interests / insurers affected, W K Webster is pleased to announce an online video presentation series for the ONE APUS via Zoom. This will consist of a series of short presentations lasting 30 minutes designed to update our clients on the current situation and with an opportunity to ask questions. The first will be presented by Michael Hird, Director of Cargo Casualty Management at W K Webster in London and will take place on Tuesday 15th December 2020 at 8am PST / 11am EST / 4pm GMT. To register please use the following link: https://wkwebster.com/special/oneapusupdate . A recording of the presentation will be made available to those of our clients who cannot attend live.
* The task of removing containers from the deck of the ONE APUS has now begun after permission was granted by the Japanese coast Guard on Friday. However, the latest report from our team of surveyors in Japan is that as of Sunday 13th December only five containers had been removed with no removal work being carried out during the weekend. Removal operations are due to resume on Monday 14th December. ONE Line has reported that the removal operation is likely to take over a month, although our assessment is that this may be optimistic.
* Images from our unique drone footage have now been analysed in conjunction with our appointed experts. Out of the 22 bays on deck, only 6 appear to have survived intact. With 20 rows per bay and with stack heights of 6-8 tiers, this would equate to approximately 2,250 containers potentially impacted. It should be noted, however, that the great majority of the containers appear to be 40 foot units (FEUs) and therefore equivalent to approximately 4,500 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units). It is likely that some of the upper stowed containers were either empty or holding lighter weight goods.
* We and our experts are continuing to analyse the evidence received to date to assist in determining the cause of the incident. This will include the weather conditions encountered; what was done by the vessel to mitigate the impact of the weather; the lashing and securing equipment used and its adequacy; the stowage condition of the vessel on departure from Yantian; passage planning; amongst other issues. We are in contact with the vessel interests in this respect including to seek to ensure that all necessary evidence is properly preserved.
* The vessel owners / operators are not currently prepared to release the vessel's stowage / bay plans. We are therefore seeking further information regarding the fate of individual containers on a case by case basis and will provide information to our clients in this respect.
* General Average has not been declared as at the time of writing. It is understood that a meeting is due to take place between the vessel interests and their representatives tomorrow (Monday). Further information will be made available upon receipt.
9 December 2020
* Our team of surveyors remains in attendance at Kobe Port although no formal plans have yet been announced by the vessel operators regarding the removal of the containers from the vessel and their subsequent handling and on-carriage where appropriate. We remain in close contact with all stakeholders representing the vessel interests and further information will be reported as soon as possible. As previously advised, however, the discharge operation will be a complex undertaking and cargo interests should expect some delay. We continue to press for the vessel's container stow/bay plans which will assist greatly in identifying the impact of this incident to individual cargo interests. We hope that this will be made available shortly as this is to the benefit of all interested parties.
* The remarkable drone footage we obtained for our clients (reported in Update 5) is now being examined by technical experts (expert Master Mariners, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers). As far as we are aware, we commissioned the only aerial footage that was obtained during the vessel's approach to Kobe Port and we believe it will be vital evidence in determining the cause of the incident, with obvious implications insofar as liability is concerned. The drone technology used to take the footage used ultra high definition cameras and this will allow for a detailed analysis to be carried out. Other evidence, both documentary and physical, is being sought from the vessel interests and their representatives and we have requested that all relevant physical evidence be preserved for future analysis as may be necessary.
* With 1,816 containers lost overboard and what looks to be thousands more collapsed throughout the deck, the total cargo / container losses arising out of this casualty will of course be very substantial. We anticipate that cargo losses, on the basis of average containerised cargo values, may reach USD200 million or more.
* In terms of liability, we have assembled a multi-jurisdictional legal presence as the issues involved in this casualty will be both complicated and span several jurisdictions - Singapore, the US and Japan being notable examples. Cargoes affected by this incident will be being carried by a range of different contractual ocean carriers and freight forwarders and each will be subject to differing contractual terms, including importantly in relation to the law and jurisdiction applicable to claims. It also ought to be possible to bring non-contractual claims against the vessel owners in bailment or tort which provides an additional cause of action.
* The extent to which the carriers' liability is established will of course depend on a large number of factors, all of which will be closely investigated and evaluated. Given the enormity of the incident, total losses may well also exceed the applicable vessel limitation figure, usually established by reference to the tonnage of the vessel pursuant to international conventions, but possibly also by reference to the vessel's value. Whilst the ONE APUS is a very new vessel and an Ultra Large Container Vessel with a very high value, we anticipate that vessel limitation will be a relevant factor and a key issue moving forward.
* General Average has still not been declared although we continue to believe that this is a likely eventuality. If General Average is declared, GA securities will be required from all surviving cargo interests on board and WKW is well placed to assist in the detailed formalities involved.
* We already represent a very significant number of cargo interests which will lead to certain economies of scale for our clients. We would urge you to contact us as soon as possible if you are concerned with any cargo on board the ONE APUS so that we may include you in our investigations and the handling of all aspects of this very serious casualty.
8 December 2020
- We can now report that the ONE APUS safely berthed at Kobe Port, Japan on the morning of the 8th December 2020. Contrary to earlier information, it is now reported that 1,816 containers have been lost overboard with many more collapsed and damaged throughout the deck space. The total number of containers affected by this incident has therefore risen sharply.
- Chidori Ship Holding LLC as owners and NYK Shipmanagement Pte Ltd as managers have said that the contents of the estimated 64 Dangerous Goods containers, which were among the 1,816 units lost overboard, included 54 containers carrying fireworks, eight carrying hold batteries and two containing liquid ethanol. A notification was sent to the JRCC in Honolulu and Guam with maritime navigational warnings subsequently broadcast. "We are continuing to liaise with the JRCC in Honolulu, which has advised that there have not been sightings of any containers as yet", the companies said.
- Our surveyors were in attendance on the vessel’s arrival and a preliminary report is now being sent to all the cargo interests we represent. Once the vessel and cargo are declared safe, there will be a more detailed attendance by which time we expect that further information will be available regarding the number and identity of the containers lost and damaged. The removal of containers is likely to be a time consuming and complicated operation.
- In addition, we commissioned a drone service and have obtained some remarkable video footage and images of the ONE APUS as it transited Osaka Bay towards Kobe Port. If you would like to access this footage, please visit the following link https://www.wkwebster.com/special/one-apus-media-public
- General Average has still not been declared, although given the scale of the incident and the extraordinary costs being incurred, the declaration of General Average now seems to be a more likely eventuality.
- Please contact us urgently if you are concerned with any cargo on board the ONE APUS so that we may take immediate steps to assist you.
7 December 2020
* We are continuing to track the progress of ONE APUS. The estimated time of arrival remains 8th December and will likely berth at the port of Kobe during daylight hours.
* Shipowners and managers have revised their estimation of lost / damaged containers to 1,816 in total, of which 64 are believed to contain dangerous goods.
* We are already instructed by a significant number of cargo interests in this matter. Our surveyors are on site and we are exploring various methods of obtaining as much information as possible from the moment the vessel arrives. We will report further upon arrival of the vessel. We are of course also making representations to establish which containers have been directly affected by the collapse, which were lost and which remain on board. The logistics of dealing with the removal of affected containers and of forwarding arrangements will also be a complex task and cargo interests should expect some delay.
*As well as surveyors and experts being in place, we also have a legal presence in both Japan and the US in order to provide a complete service to our clients' individual needs.
* We urge you to contact us if you have cargo on board and wish to take advantage of the services we have in place in respect of this casualty.
4 December 2020
*The vessel operator has now confirmed that the vessel is proceeding to Kobe, Japan with an ETA of 8th December.
*Once berthed, steps will be taken to offload collapsed containers on board. There will then be an assessment of the number and identity of the containers lost or damaged.
*General Average has not yet been declared, but we are keeping a very close watch on developments in this regard and have put in place a team to respond in the event that GA is declared and security collection becomes necessary.
*Surveyors and Experts are ready to attend the vessel in Japan on behalf of our clients and there may be certain economies of scale to our clients with regard to investigations.
*Should you insure any cargo on this vessel we strongly recommend that you contact us as soon as possible.
3 December 2020
* According to latest reports, it is understood that the vessel is proceeding to the Port of Kobe, Japan, with an ETA of 8th December.
* Once berthed it is expected to take some considerable time to offload the collapsed containers that remain on board. Identifying whether cargo has been lost, damaged or remains on board in sound condition will also be a difficult and time consuming task.
* An indication of the scale of the casualty can be found from the following link, a photograph reportedly taken from the bridge of the vessel https://www.wkwebster.com/images/one_opus.jpg
* We have surveyors and experts standing by to attend the vessel to conduct cargo surveys and investigate the cause of the incident.
* Given the seriousness of the incident, we would urge you to contact us as soon as possible so that we may take immediate steps to protect your interests.
2 December 2020
* We write with further important information regarding the ONE APUS casualty following our report of yesterday.
* It is now reported that more than 1,900 containers may have been lost or damaged as a result of the incident, 40 of which are believed to hold dangerous cargoes. This is therefore now a major incident that will impact a great number of cargo interests and their insurers.
* The containers currently remaining on board in the affected container bays are said to be unsafe for close-quarter inspection and it is likely that more containers will be impacted as the vessel proceeds to a port of refuge.
* The vessel is now reported to be sailing westwards towards Japan in the opposite direction to its originally scheduled port of call, Long Beach, USA. The exact port of refuge is not yet known, but one source reports that it may be Kobe in Japan.
* Upon arrival at the port of refuge, steps will be taken to assess the extent of the loss and damage and to make safe any unstable containers remaining on board. There will also be a full investigation into the incident involving the appropriate maritime authorities.
* It is clear that the voyage schedule for the vessel will be severely impacted by this incident. In addition to any physical loss or damage to cargo, any temperature and/or time sensitive cargo stowed on board the vessel may also be adversely affected as a consequence of the prolongation of the voyage.
* It is also possible that shipowners may declare General Average in light of the extraordinary costs incurred as a result of this incident. If so, General Average security may be required from all Cargo Interests prior to the delivery of their cargo and we are likely to be able to assist in that regard.
* We are currently seeking definitive information as to the intended port of refuge whereupon we shall appoint surveyors to attend upon the vessel's arrival.
* Given the seriousness of this incident we very strongly recommend that you contact us as a matter of urgency if you are concerned with any cargo stowed on board the vessel.
* It has been reported that ultra large containership ONE APUS has lost a significant number of containers overboard in the Pacific Ocean on 30 November 2020.
* The incident occurred approximately 1,600 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii, reportedly during severe weather.
* The vessel was proceeding from Yantian, China to Long Beach, California, USA, however the Owners are now understood to be seeking a suitable port of refuge for the vessel to assess the damage and to determine the number of containers lost.
* It is also very likely that some containers on board will have collapsed or been damaged in the affected stacks, but remain on board. These containers may need to be removed at any port of refuge or be restowed and secured.
* Once a port of refuge has been confirmed WKW will make arrangements for surveyors to standby in order to investigate the cause of the incident and to attend to any cargo surveys as may be necessary or possible. Further surveys may need to be undertaken to affected units at final ports of destination in due course.
* In addition to recovery issues arising in respect of lost and/or damaged cargo, the schedule for the ONE APUS seems almost certain to be delayed which may therefore also adversely affect any time sensitive or refrigerated cargoes on board.
* Should you insure any cargo stowed on board this vessel and require our assistance we would urge you to contact us as soon as possible so that we may take immediate steps to start protecting your position.