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"River Rescue"

On The Scene In The St. Lawrence River, Canada

Feature Date: April 21 2008

Event Date: March 8 To April 9 2008

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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

On The Scene --In The St. Lawrence River

 A 2008 Countryman & McDaniel

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Other Great Disasters of our Time

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss

"Paradise & Pirates" - S/V Le Ponant - April 2008

"The Light At The End of The Tunnel" - M/V Zhen Hua 10 & 23 - Mar. 2008

"Mess At Manzanillo" - M/V CMA CGM Dahlia - Mar. 2008

"Big Battered Banana Boat" - M/V Horncliff - Feb. 2008

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"Kwanyang Crane Kaboom" - Nov. 2007

"Den Den Done" - M/V Denden - Sept. 2007

"For The "L" of It" - M/V Action Alpha - August 2007

"Stack Attack!" - M/V Ital Florida - July 2007

"Pepito Flores Did Not Need To Die " - OUR INVESTIGATION RESULTS

"Riding Down The Marquis" - M/V Rickmars Dalian - June2007

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"Between A Yacht & A Hard Place" M/V Madame Butterfly - May 2007

"Boxing Up The Rhine" M/V Excelsior - April 2007

"Best Worst Laid Plans?" M/V Republica di Genoa - March 2007

"Crack'n On The Sidmouth" - M/V MSC Napoli - Jan. 2007 - Disaster In Real Time

"Full Speed Ahead" - M/V Alva Star - Nov. 2006

"Where The Trade Winds Blew" - Oct. 2006

"Maersk Montevideo Melee!" - M/V Leda Maersk - Oct. 2006

"Laying Down On The Job" - M/V Cougar Ace -- Aug. 2006 -- Amazing !

"Vine Ripened Tires" - M/V Saga Spray -- May 2006 -- Amazing !

"Mis-Fortune" - M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

"Scheldt Snafu!" - M/V Grande Nigeria - Feb. 2006

"A Day A The Beach - M/V APL Panama - Jan. 2006 - OUR EPIC COVERAGE

"NO Rails" - destruction of New Orleans - Dec. 2005

"Backhaul !" - for July 2005

"The Boeing Tri-Motor" - for April 2005

"Catch of The Day" - for March 2005

"One Brick Short of A Runway" - for Jan. 2005

"Singles Only" -- Our One Photo Disasters

M/T Vicuna Explodes - for Jan. 2005

"Unstacked" - overboard & Dr. Beach - Nov. 2004

"Coal Face" - the cargo was danger - July 2004

"Super Loss" - March 2004

"On A Wing & A Prayer" - Jan. 2004

"Stepping In It" - Dec. 2003

"Angel Fire" - Nov. 2003

"Broken Spirit" - M/V Tasman Spirit - Aug. 2003

"Denise & Polargo" - a love story - July 2003

"Columbia River Round Up" - June 2003

"Keel Hualed" - M/V Hual Europe - May 2003

"Thrice Bitten" -- M/V Tricolor - Jan. 2003

"Ramp-Age" - Feb. 2003

"Piñata" - breaking the box - Jan. 2003

"Halifax Hash"--M/V Maersk Carolina - Jan. 2003

"Thar She Blows!" - M/V Hanjin Pennsylvania - Nov. 2002

"T-E-U Bar-Be-Cue" - aftermath of the Pennsylvania

"Container Pool" - a mystery - May 2002

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Tell It To The U.S. Marines! - A Symbol of Our Day of Infamy - Sept. 11

Heavy Metal - lifting the un-liftable object - Disaster at Monrovia July 2001

Rail Mate -- an Egyptian rail loss - Tragedy At Ain Sokhna July 2001

Meals: Ready To Explode - Navy container barbecue at Guam! June 2001

America West Kisses Concrete M/V Ville De Orion - stack shift at LAX

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M/V OOCL America - Feb. 2000

M/V APL China - world's greatest container disaster - Nov. 1998

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M/V Tampa Maersk "on a dock diet"

Hanjin's Bad Stab - Under The Dock At Pusan, Korea - Exclusive Photo!

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss


"River Rescue"

M/V MSC Sabrina

On The Scene

In The St. Lawrence River

A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Date: March 8 2008

The Time: Morning

The Place: The St. Lawrence River

M/V MSC Sabrina In Better Days


Vessel Name - MSC Sabrina

Former Operating Vessel Name: Hanjin Oakland

Owner: Mediterranean Shipping Company

Type of Vessel - Fully cellular container

Built Year: March 1989

Shipyard: Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Ltd, South Korea

Yard / Hull Number: 4018

Flag -Panama

Owner: MSC Line

IMO Number: 8714205

Call Sign: 3FMG8

Engine Design: SUL

Engine Type: 7RTA84

Power Output: 22.140 KW

Maximum Speed: 24,1 knots

Overall Length: 242,10 meters

Overall Beam: 32,20 meters

Maximum Draught: 11,70 meters

Maximum TEU Capacity: 3032

Reefer Containers: 308 TEU

Deadweight: 43.078 tons

Gross Tonnage: 37.134 tons

Handling Gear: None

The Prolog To Disaster -- A Day On The River

PROLOG >> On Christmas Day 2005 we all began a journey as M/V APL Panama began her "Day At The Beach" off Esenada, Mexico--which lasted almost 5 months until May 2006. This stands as the most intense maritime loss The Cargo Letter has ever covered. If you have not seen this -- take a few moments -- M/V APL Panama .

But with the M/V MSC Sabrina incident -- we are now spending a "day" on the St. Lawrence River -- which connects the world to the Port of Montreal.

While we all know that "Ship Happens! ©" -- this feature demontrates the extent to which the dedication, skill & talent of a single company -- with the help of salvage tugs -- confronted & solved it's own problem for the benefit of both it's cargo customers and the environment. BRAVO ZULU to Mediterranean Shipping Company!

Sadly, this feature also points out the shocking lack of shipper education as to common perils of the sea -- and how these risks are handled by the simple arranging of quality Marine Cargo Insurance.

Below is not a "day" -- but a month in the mud for M/V MSC Sabrina.

Michael S. McDaniel - Your Editor

M/V MSC Sabrina - Shrouded In The Mist - Grounded In The St. Lawrence River

M/V MSC Sabrina -- Up The Three Rivers Without Three Paddles

From The Cargo Letter - March 16 2008
243 meter Panama-flagged container M/V MSC Sabrina (IMO 8714205), Montreal from France, ran aground in the St. Lawrence River near Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, on Mar. 8. Initial attempts to free the vessel by tug were unsuccessful. Initial reports indicate it could take weeks to free the vessel. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Sun. March 16 2008)
M/V MSC Sabrina -- A Prisoner In Mud & Ice On The St. Lawrence River

A Forlorn M/V MSC Sabrina -- Off Port of Trois-Rivières (Port of Three Rivers) On The St. Lawrence River

M/V MSC Sabrina Is Close To Help -- But So Far Away From Success

She Was Heading To The Port of Montréal When Her Southern Side Struck Ground Along Section 20 of The Port of Trois-Rivières

 Tow Off Efforts Begin on March 8 2008

Tow Off Efforts Three Times On March 8 2008 Alone -- Fail

M/V MSC Sabrina Is Stuck Deep In The Mud

Published Resident Report of The Period - March 8 2008

"It's amazing, kind of [an] amazing situation. I think of all those customers waiting for all of those cargo," said Andre Lemire, whose company co-ordinated this fourth and successful attempt to free the ship. Some people aren't so happy. A volunteer at the local seamen's club, Noël Charpentier, said the vessel has become a big local attraction.

"There's not very much that happens in Trois-Rivières, so as soon as something like that happens … I've seen so many people sitting in their cars [watching it] all day long. One area resident, Olivier Grosleau, said the ship should be turned into a museum."

Published News Report of The Period - March 13 2008

"The ship, it didn't move at all," said Pierre LeBrun, a marine safety inspector with Transport Canada. The shipping company will now have to lighten the weight of the vessel by offloading cargo onto a barge with a crane.

"This is a big logistic. We don't want the crane to take a container and, by accident, a container falls in the water", said LeBrun.

Owners of M/V MSC Sabrina have to draft a detailed plan of how it intends to proceed and submit it to Transport Canada for approval.

The vessel is not blocking or polluting the waterway, and the shipping company or its insurance will pay the full cost of the removal.

It's not the first time M/V MSC Sabrina has encountered trouble. The ship collided with a Dutch fishing vessel in June 2000 off the coast of the Netherlands, and 15 minutes later struck a British cargo vessel. Neither accident resulted in major damage.

Mediterranean Shipping Company

"Due to the complexity of the operation and following extensive research and information gathering, we have devised a plan and presently await approval from a number of government agencies. This recovery plan must be treaded carefully in order to adhere to local Customs, Transport and environmental concerns."

"MSC expects to implement their plan of action before the end of March, providing that the necessary equipment becomes available on time. If all goes as planned, the vessel should then proceed to Montreal during the first week of April 2008."

Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping News - March 12 2008

Fully cellular containership M/V MSC Sabrina remains stuck fast in two feet of clay at Three Rivers. Five tugs tried in vain to pull it free, three of the tugs have returned to their home ports. A new plan has been submitted to remove containers from the vessel. According to reports fully cellular containership M/V MSC Yokohama will unload in Montreal and proceed to Tree Rivers and lighter M/V MSC Sabrina. This is expected to take place in the next few days. M/V MSC Yokohama is due in Montreal Mar 14. New reports blame the grounding on wind, blinding snow and too much headway.

Editor Note: M/V MSC Yokohama was substituted & never arrived on scene.

 Tow Off Efforts Led By M/V Ocean Delta Prove Unsuccessful.

M/V MSC Sabrina Is Too Heavy & Hard Aground.

M/V MSC Sabrina & Her Cargo Will Sit -- Stranded For The Next 20 Days

Fisheries and Oceans Canada - March 21 2008

"The Government of Canada is closely monitoring Panamanian ship M/V MSC Sabrina which ran aground in Trois-Rivières and will study the final lightering plan as soon as it is received. The plan must be prepared by the ship's owner and submitted to Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard for assessment. M/V MSC Sabrina was heading to the Port of Montréal when her southern side struck ground along Section 20 of the Port of Trois-Rivières on March 8."

"On March 8, 2008 & there after refloating attempts were made using a number of tugboats, all to no avail."  

After 20 Days "UP THE RIVER" M/V MSC Sabrina Finally Receives Some Relief

M/V MSC Jasmine Arives On Station -- The Cavalry Has Arrived --To The Rescue -- The Lightening Operation Will Begin 

Mediterranean Shipping Company - March 28 2008

MSC Line Has Sent Company Vessel M/V MSC Jasmine -- With Her Own Deck Gear (Cranes) To Remove Cargo & Lighten The Vessel By Discharging About 360 Containers To Lift M/V MSC Sabrina Enough And Refloat Her.

M/V MSC Jasmine Is Maneuvered Into Positioned For Lightening Operations 

If M/V MSC Sabrina Can Be Lightened -- Perhaps She Can Be Freed

Mediterranean Shipping Company Works To Free Her Own

M/V MSC Jasmine Has Her Own Deck Gear (cranes) For Container Transfer -- Vessel To Vessel

Vessel To Vessel -- In A Moving River & Freezing Cold

From Our Reader

I have received eye witness accounts that the lightening process has begun with the M/V MSC Sabrina. Though no official statement has been made, I have been told that they are attempting to unload atleast 30% of the containers and then attempting to use tugs to Pull the lighter M/V MSC Sabrina from the clay in which it is trapped.

Please note that many companies are in the same posisition. I am a forwarder, and have many different shipments on the vessel. One that stands out the most is a container of Antique wooden Furniture. The furniture is so valueable the client had them delivered to our France facilities by Armored Car.

I will press MSC to issue a statement, though the odds of thm doing so at my request are very slim. The most I can offer is to update here as soon as more information is available.

Alex - TLS International

M/V MSC Sabrina With M/V MSC Jasmine Alongside -- Ship's Gear Is Moving Containers

Lightening Is Underway. Tugs Keep It All Legal.

 M/V MSC Sabrina & M/V MSC Jasmine Work Into The Night

 While Crews Work M/V MSC Sabrina & M/V MSC Jasmine -- Tugs Remain To Stabilize The Operation

M/V MSC Jasmine Repositions

Now Starboard To Starboard -- Containers Aweigh !

Note The Number of Containers Which Were Removed Earlier From Port Side of M/V MSC Sabrina

M/V MSC Jasmine Is Laden With Some 400 Containers of M/V MSC Sabrina -- Time For The Barn

Loaded M/V MSC Jasmine Is Moved Toward The Warf With Rescued Containers From M/V MSC Sabrina

Move To The Temporary Port of Trois

Loaded M/V MSC Jasmine Anchors Off The Quay -- To Discharge Her Some 400 Rescued Containers At Port of Trois

General Average Has Been Declared -- So Shippers Will Need To Post A Guarantee To Claim Their Cargo

 A Now Lightened M/V MSC Sabrina Awaits The Next Phase -- The Ship May Now Be Light Enough To Move Off The Bar --

-- But She Is Hard Grounded In Clay -- Over 2 Meters Below Her Free Floating Draft Point

Tugs Gather Again -- For A Next Try -- As M/V MSC Sabrina Awaits The Next Phase  

Local Maritime Report - April 2 2008

M/V MSC Sabrina won't move until the weekend or later, the high tides that coincide with the new moon, will happen this coming week-end and freshets. Freshets are the run off from the rivers & streams from the rain and melting snow, which should help in refloating M/V MSC Sabrina.

M/V MSC Sabrina Is Much Lighter Now -- And Just May Pull Off The Clay Mud Bank 

A Lighter M/V MSC Sabrina May Have A Better Chance of Slipping Free

M/V MSC Sabrina Now Sits Much Higher On The St. Lawrence River

 Now M/V Ocean Delta -- Will Again Lead The Pull


The Massive M/V Ocean Delta & Four Other Tugs Begin The Pull

M/V MSC Sabrina Is Hard Aground 

The Owners Have Declared General Average

The Skipper of M/V Ocean Delta Has His Doubts -- But Full Power Is Put To The Task For The Now Lighter LOad

M/V Ocean Delta Makes Way

M/V MSC Sabrina Begins To Move -- US$100M Worth of Cargo Has Been Stalled For 30 Days

Many Canadian & U.S. Importers Are Suffering For Lack of Product

M/V Ocean Delta Breaks The Vessel Free! 

M/V Ocean Delta On Her Proud Tow of M/V MSC Sabrina To Port!

Aground For Almost One Month, M/V MSC Sabrina Dug Into The Clay Bottom & Out of Her Mean Free Floating Draft By An Estimated 2 Meters.

Tugs Could Not Free Her By Tractive Power Alone.

Thanks & BRAVO ZULU M/V MSC Jasmine !

M/V MSC Sabrina Is Finally Manouvered Near The Quay

Over 400 Laden Containers Had To Be Discharged To M/V MSC Jasmine Before Refloatation Was Possible.

M/V MSC Sabrina Is At Temporary Port

M/V MSC Sabrina Is Just Off Port of Trois - After Amonth -- This Photo Confirms Our Expectation

A Silent Night -- All Is Quite Well

At Last -- M/V MSC Sabrina Is At Port And Will Begin To Discharge Her China Cargo In The Monrning.

Divers Will Inspect The Ship's Hull For Damage Before She Is Allowed To Dock In Montreal.
The Crews of M/V MSC Jasmine, M/V Ocean Delta, 4 other tugs & numerous salvage personnel now can take a break.

The Docking of M/V MSC Sabrina - April 4 2008

M/V MSC Sabrina braved the Winter winds & waves of the North Pacific to deliver Canadian & U.S. demand for toilet seats, toys, computer speakers, wind shield wipers, cutting tools, tea kettles, plastic glasses -- and a host of other commoditities our society cannot live without.

Ships such as M/V MSC Sabrina face danger at every step & stage of their transit.

This said, when M/V MSC Sabrina grounded, there were calls from cargo owners who expressed absolute outrage that their cargo might be delayed in delivery.

"is This legal?", one consignee asked. "How can they hold our cargo?", another Canadian importer queried.

Anyone who has viewed this photo feature for M/V MSC Sabrina -- above -- clearly understands that the nature has played a much greater role in meeting the delivery schedule than Mediterranean Shipping Company. A full fifty years into modern international shipping, one might think that Canadian & U.S. importers might have a slight clue as to how the system works -- and the dangers it entails.

The Logistics Chain

 General Average Guarantee

Perhaps the most difficult concept for Canadian importers from M/V MSC Sabrina to understand -- is the posting of a General Average. This is a cost of the shipping venture shared by the cargo owners to defer the expense of saving the vessel. The payment of each cargo owner is calculated as a percentage of stated cargo value. The expense can usually only be posted through a London Broker in cash -- unless you have quality Marine Cargo Insurance.

Container Availability - April 9 2008

More than 1,500 cargo containers which were on board the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) M/V MSC Sabrina are now docked at the Port of Montreal.

MSC is waiting on a Genral Average insurance claim it filed to recoup rescue costs accrued in the grounding last month, and while that request is processed companies such as Howar Equipment Inc. are forced to wait for their orders.

"I cannot sleep anymore," said Mariann Hauer, an office manager with the Ontario-based cable goods company, which had one container on the ship with US$110,000 of orders destined for American clients. "I've never experienced anything like this."

Hauer said she hasn't been able to get a straight answer from MSC about when her cargo will be released, which creates major problems for her clients, who are waiting on orders that have already been delayed by several weeks.

"How can they do that, holding goods which do not belong to them anymore?" Mariann Hauer said. She says her company's clients had to wait for their orders after M/V MSC Sabrina was stuck in the St. Lawrence's shallow waters near Trois-Rivières for almost a month.

Hauer said it's impossible to tell them when they'll get their goods, a reality that she said will damage her company's reputation.

Howar's New York City-based broker allegedly said she's never seen this kind of situation. But we see this process as customary, under the circumstances.

"They were only hired to get them from point A to point B," said the Customs Broker for Howar Equipment Inc. "If they weren't damaged, I don't know why they'd have to keep them," the Customs Broker allegedly told Mariann Hauer. [Note: This is shocking ignorance for a maritime professional.]

Editor Note -

Cargo Law was contacted by shipper Mariann Hauer of Howar Equipment Inc.

As I told Mariann, the posting of a General Average Guarantee can be a nightmare for those shippers foolish enough not to have arranged Marine Cargo Insurance. Howar Equipment Inc. was required to post a US$125,000 General Average Guarantee to receive it's cargo valued at US$110,000. Fortunatley -- as I explained to Howar Equipment Inc. -- quality Marine Cargo Insurance will advance this expense.

Now Howar Equipment Inc. fully understands another reason why it was wise to insure it's ocean cargo. The Reason is Cargo Insurance.

Tragic as this event was -- it was a customary peril of international ocean shipping. As more companies venture into the world of international trade -- there must be appreciation of the fact that -- IT IS DANGEROUS OUT THERE. Moving product by sea is not the same as safe activity as sending a UPS parcel. For these reasons -- there are rules to be learned -- such as the requirement of quality Marine Cargo Insurance.

I have no doubts that those shippers with cargo aboard M/V MSC Sabrina who did not have Marine Cargo Insurance -- are still figuring out how to post the General Average Guarantee or if the investment is worth the expense.

Michael S. McDaniel - Your Editor

Shippers Must Have Quality Marine Cargo Insurance ........ Because......... "Ship Happens! ©"

To Repeat -- No Matter How Careful You Are -- Or Who You Hire ....... "Ship Happens! ©"

"Ship Happens! ©"


The Dedication of This Feature Is Simple: To The Crews of M/V MSC Sabrina, M/V MSC Jasmine, M/V Ocean Delta, the Salvors and their families. These People Bring Our Cargo.

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs brokerIt's dangerous out there.


The Vessel
Mediterranean Shipping Company
MSC Fleet

M/V MSC Sabrina

M/V MSC Sabrina Tracking Map

Current Position of M/V MSC Sabrina

The Port

Port of Trois-Rivières Webcam

SMIT Salvage

General Average

Our Daily Vessel Casualties - stay informed

Other Ocean Related Features From The Cargo Letter- these are just examples

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss - For All The Air & Ocean Features - a few examples below
"Explorer Ship Down" - M/V Explorer - Nov. 2007

"Kwanyang Crane Kaboom" - Nov. 2007

"Den Den Done" - M/V Denden - Sept. 2007

"For The "L" of It" - M/V Action Alpha - August 2007

"Pepito Flores Did Not Need To Die " - OUR INVESTIGATION RESULTS

"Stack Attack!" - M/V Ital Florida - July 2007

"Singles Only" - visit our individual moments of transport crisis for more.

The Greatest Container Losses Of All Time - these are the grand fathers -

M/V OOCL America

M/V APL China

M/V APL Panama - The EPIC

"Great Misfortune"- M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker. 

It's very dangerous out there.

Thanks To Our Contributors For The "River Rescue" Feature

Our Contributor for this feature are:
Alex - TLS International

Denis Blanchard - retired mariner - Canadian Coast Guard & PMO

Mariann Hauer - Howar Equipment Inc.

Steve Harris - UK

Anonymou Contributor Who Has Brouight Us Many Features -- But Must Be Anonymous*

The Cargo Letter appreciates the continuing efforts of these valued contributors. Thanks Pal For Your Contributions!

NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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