The Cargo Letter

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M/V Ever Decent - Disaster

Los Angeles International Airport
Late PM, 24 August 1999

Dear List Readers,

Today we have already heard that one U.S. underwriter received a cargo claim arising out of the vessel collision yesterday. Evergreen Line is in some trouble, but not without a potential indemnity target.

Well, we think it shall be worse. Lloyds List is reporting the following tonite, 24 August:

"The Panamanian m container vessel EVER DECENT (52,090 gross), Hamburg for Los Angeles with containers, was in collision with the Bahamas m passenger vessel NORWEGIAN DREAM (50,764 gross), on 12 day Baltic Cruise with 1,600 passengers and 800 crew, in lat 51 26N, long 01 56E, late Aug 23. Norwegian Dream sustained damage to bow and bridge and berthed Dover Aug 24. Ever Decent is still on fire Aug 24 with tugs in attendance. (Wednesday August 25 1999)

Indeed, "bound for Los Angeles". Cargo bound for our local California port.

We have seen pictures of the fire. It was so bad that M/V Ever Decent put in to shallow water to be attended by coast guard & fire boats. While containers are said over side & representing a hazzard to navigation, the "cooking" effect of the fire seems quite worse.

All this said, the Associated Press is reporting tonite, 24 August:

"Both ships were in a crossing point of the shipping lane. Strict separation rules are in effect for the area, and both ships were equipped with modern radar systems.

"The Ever Decent was traveling from the River Thames to Zeebrugge in Belgium, while the Norwegian Dream was returning to port at Dover after a 13-day tour of Scandinavian capitals.

"Firefighters and the 40 crew members of the Ever Decent battled a blaze that broke out on board after the accident and raged on into the afternoon.

"The force of the crash threw three shipping containers from the deck of the Ever Decent onto the 41,000-ton cruise ship. Other containers fell in the water, while several more caught fire, the Coastguard said.

"Pollution experts also were on alert because 40 of the 3,092 containers were loaded with hazardous materials. However, the pollution risk was considered minimal, the Coast Guard said."

Don't be fooled by the report of 3 containers over side. We have read that there may be more. Many more containers, however, are well toasted in the fire.

We do not know the accident dynamics, but the bow of M/V Norwegian Dream shows dead head-on damage, as if the freighter was hit broadside .......... in clear weather. Expect lawsuits.

Continuing details of this disaster, from several points of view are available around the clock, as always, from the resources at our web site.

The Cargo Letter

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