The Cargo Letter

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Air & Ocean Freight Forwarder - Customs Broker News
29 February 2000

Good Leap Day Morning from our Observation Deck...... overlooking the officially designated "Cargo City" area and....... Runway 25-Right, at Los Angeles International Airport, voted ``Best Cargo Airport in North America''. Don't miss the big Feb.10 news regarding the disaster on M/V OOCL AMERICA in " Cargo Damage Dispatches."

"Because of our confidential sources, we have obtained the first photos of this massive loss, an incident which now involves at least 200 more lost-crushed ocean containers that the previous 400 container record aboard M/ L APL China. Our confidential news & photos are not available at any other source.

To help you find what you need -- FAST -- there's now a search engine installed at our website!

The thousands of Forwarders & Brokers who read this publication around the world need to learn of YOUR experiences and what YOU learned today. Contribute your knowledge, stories & company information ........ by e-mail to The Cargo Letter. We strive to bring you useful information which is timely & topical. Be sure to visit our web site.

Michael S. McDaniel, Editor & Publisher, Countryman & McDaniel, forwarder/broker attorneys at LAX.

INDEX to The Cargo Letter:

OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News
   1.  Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs
   2. The Cargo Letter Financial Page
OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News
   3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs
OUR "C" Section:  FF World Ocean News
   4. FF World Ocean Briefs
   5. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches
      * Back By Popular Demand
OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace
   6. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"
OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World
   7. New U.S. Transport Related Legal Cases
      * Forwarder "Terms & Conditions" Upheld
   8. The Boeing Chicken Launcher
      * A Tale From The Past

OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News

1. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs

2. The Cargo Letter Financial Page

OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News

3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs

OUR "C" Section: FF World Ocean News

4. FF World Ocean Briefs

5. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches

Visit our new Vessel Casualties & Pirate Activity Database

This is only a partial list of casualties for the month in that most dangerous place ....... out there. Well over 400 containers lost at sea this month. Don't miss the big Feb.10 news on M/V OOCL AMERICA, below.

At least 32 people were killed when a a number of bombs exploded on a bus being carried on Philippines inter-island ferry M/V LADY MEDIATRIX, 201 tons, as the vessel was berthing at Ozamis. The blasts subsequently sparked a fire on the vessel. Poluice said the bombs were planted in the luggage of the bus passengers. (Mon. Feb. 28 2000)

Six crew members of a civilian vessel were forced to abandon ship after the U.S. Navy refueling tanker USNS Yukon collided with it 27 Feb. outside Dubai's Jebel Ali port. The USNS Yukon, which provides fuel for ships & aircraft at sea with the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, hit the M/V Inchcape-14 while trying to enter port, said a statement by the Fifth Fleet, which is based in the Gulf state of Bahrain. The 677-foot Yukon sustained minor damage & helped rescue the 6 crew members who were forced to jump off the partially submergerd 135-foot Inchcape-14. Inchcape's Dubai office would not comment on the condition of its vessel. The U.K.-based company is mainly involved in cargo shipping. The U.S. Navy statement said that harbor tugs helped keep the ship afloat & removed it from the busy traffic channel. The Navy statement said that the incident was under investigation. (Sun. Feb. 27 2000)

British police on 25 Feb. arrested 5 activists from the environmental group Greenpeace who had boarded a U.S. vessel M/V LOLCOS GRACE with genetically modified soya aboard off Wales. "They're still there -- 2 on the anchor chain & 3 on board -- and they'll stay there for as long as it takes," a spokesman for the group told Reuters. A spokesman for North Wales police said the campaigners, who stormed the ship early on 25 Feb., would be detained overnight & questioned. The ship, carrying 60,000 tons of soya belonging to U.S. grain giant Cargill Inc., was bound for a processing plant in Liverpool. The soya was destined to be processed into animal feed, Greenpeace said. Cargill confirmed that the vessel had a cargo of U.S. soybeans, some of which were genetically modified. Greenpeace GM campaigner Charlie Kronick said police had used bolt cutters to remove 3 activists who were chained into the ship's anchor chamber & arrested them along with 2 others positioned on the anchor chain on the hull. The campaigners had blocked the anchor to stop the ship pulling it up & moving on to Anglesey to unload. Police said there had been no struggle. Earlier Greenpeace had said it would cling onto the ship until Cargill agreed to take the soya back to the U.S. Cargill argued that imports of genetically modified soybeans were fully regulated & had been approved as safe for use in food & feed in Britain & the rest of the EU since 1996." Many supermarkets in Britain have pledged to label foods which contain GM elements but there is no way of knowing if products such as milk & meat have come from animals that have eaten GM feed. Sorry, killer soya? (Fri. Feb. 25 2000)

The Cyprus bulk carrier M/V VITASTAR (37,700 gross), Genoa for Dunkirk in ballast, had water ingress into a cylinder liner in lat 48 12N, long 05 32W, Feb 24. LOF signed. Towed to anchorage in Brest area by tug Abielle Flandre. (Sat. Feb. 26 2000)

The Estonian cargo vessel M/V Fiina Timber called for help from the British coastguard in the early hours of 25 Feb. after about 15 packages of timber fell overboard, tilting the ship about six degrees to its port side. The coastguard said a helicopter would fly out to survey the Fiina Timber -- languishing just south west of the small Scottish island of Tiree -- and that a tug would reach the ship in the early afternoon. "The situation at the moment is stable,'' said the head of the area's coastguard. "With strong weather, however...we are concerned that this incident could possibly escalate." The 77-meter cargo ship, with its 10-man Swedish crew, was on its way from Sweden to Warren Point in Northern Ireland when it lost part of its cargo. (Fri. Feb. 25 2000)

The Greek bulk carrier M/V SAMJOHN LIGHT (38,077 gross), Australia for San Nicolas with charcoal, grounded at Km 44, Martin Garcia Channel, Feb 21. Still aground Feb 23. Attempts to refloat by own means failed. LOF signed. (Thurs. Feb. 24 2000)

The 8 crew members of a Syrian-flagged freighter M/V Lina Star (672-dwt) escaped safely on 21 Feb. when their vessel sank while anchored off Greece in Vatika Bay in the Laconia region of the southern Peloponnese. The crew -- one Egyptian and seven Syrian crewmen -- were rescued by a coast guard launch. Lina Star was bound for Algeria from Ukraine laden with soda. The vessel was thought to have temporarily anchored in the bay to shelter from southwesterly winds but began taking on water in its engine room. (Mon. Feb 21 2000)

Tanker M/T FRONT COMMANDER (157,863 gt, built 1999) & container vessel M/V HANG FENG (1,589 gt) were in collision in lat 22 16.7N, long 114 37.2E on Feb 19. Hang Feng sustained damage amidships, began taking water & listed to starboard. Twenty-seven containers fell overboard. Salvage tugs on scene. Front Commander sustained no damage. (Mon. Feb. 21 2000)

The Danish M/V THOR EMILIE (1,655 gross), Dunkirk for Porto Vesme with zinc concentrate, had an explosion & fire in engine-room & sank immediately in lat 37 32N, long 02 11E, Feb 17. 6 crew missing. The Thor Emilie went down 60 miles north of Algiers following an explosion near the engine room, according to Spain's Marine Rescue Service. The cause of the explosion was not known. One of the missing crewmen is Danish. The other 5 are from the Philippines. The vessel's Danish captain was picked up in good physical condition by the Italian commercial ship M/V Verdi that took part in the rescue operation. Rescue services said the captain was on watch at the bow of the ship at the time of the explosion. The captain told his rescuers he was the only crew member to make it into one of the ship's two lifeboats. (Sat. Feb. 19 2000)

The Carnival Cruise Lines ship M/V Carnival Destiny canceled its Caribbean port stops & sailed toward Miami after more than a day adrift in the ocean. It was near the Turks & Caicos Islands southeast of the Bahama Islands early Tuesday when 1 of 2 cycloconverters malfunctioned. Cycloconverters transmit electricity from a ship's diesel engines to a propulsion motor. The ship was carrying 2,956 passengers on a 7 day cruise. Passengers were promised full refunds for their cruise & air transportation, a 50% discount on a future 3- to 7-day cruise, and a free cycloconverter. (Turs. Feb. 17 2000)

Some 750 passengers were forced to abandon passenger vessel M/V Carousel, Feb 13, after she ran over rocks off Mexico's Yucatan, seriously damaging a propeller & causing a 50 ton oil spill. Contamination has been detected long surrounding beaches. (Thurs. Feb. 17 2000)

The Italian M/V Espresso Catania & the Madeira Islands-registered M/V Zafir rammed into each other early on 14 Feb. about 4 miles south of the port town of Santa Caterina, outside Punta Stilo, in the Calabria region at the toe of the Italian peninsula. The Zafir split apart & sank within minutes, while the Espresso Catania stayed afloat. Twenty crew members and & passengers on the Espresso Catania were escorted safely ashore. Fourteen Spanish sailors were believed to be on the Zafir. Three died, 2 were saved & 9 are missing. The Zafir's captain was among the victims. Helicopters & rescue boats are searching for survivors, but coast guard officials said the chances of finding anyone alive 8 hours later were extremely slim. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear. Weather conditions appeared to be good, with no fog. The Zafir, carrying material to make cement, had just left a nearby Italian port. The Italian vessel was on its way from northern Italy to Catania, Sicily, with a load of trucks. Officials at the Madeira Islands' shipping registry said the Zafir was owned by the Panama-based company Buckland Consulting Inc. Espresso Catania is beached at Guardavalle, south of Crotone. (Mon. Feb 14 2000)

The Liberian vehicle carrier M/V OLIVE ACE (38,772 gross), Antwerp for Japan, had engine problems & anchored in Flushing Roads Feb 12 to effect repairs. Proceeded Feb 13. (Mon. Feb. 14 2000)

The Norwegian vessel M/V FAKTOR, 793 gt (built 1971, had fire break out today between Staarheim & Isane in Nordfjorden following an explosion in some gas containers on board. After one hour the fire was extinguished & vessel was towed to Davik. (Sat. Feb. 12 2000)

The Hapag-Lloyd containership M/V Bonn Express has been delayed after a mechanical failure in the ship's steering mechanism caused it to run aground 11 Feb. in New York harbor. A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said the 2,800-TEU ship had not sailed & was undergoing repairs. The Bonn Express is one of 13 vessels in the Grand Alliance "PAX" weekly service connecting Europe via North America with Asia. The ship was leaving Port Newark for Halifax & Europe. (Fri. Feb. 11 2000)

The Hong Kong container vessel M/V OOCL AMERICA (66.047 gt, built 1995) sustained heavy weather damage on voyage Long Beach for Kaohsiung. There is major cargo damage. Severe weather Jan 31 in the Pacific Ocean & lost a large number of containers overboard. OOCL put the figure at around 300, but could not confirm exactly, as the vessel is still underway & is not expected to dock in Kaohsiung until Feb 8. The company said it will survey the damage then. A maritime attorney for cargo interests who had been contacted about the incident put the figure at 350 containers lost overboard & 217 still on board but crushed or bent out of usable. Others that lost cargo were K Line's M/V Astoria Bridge & two CSX Lines' ships slot chartered to M/V Maersk Sealand ..... M/V Sea-Land Hawaii .... washed 21 x 40 ft boxes in to the sea .... M/V Sea-Land Pacific ...... lost 20 containers overboard ..." (Thus Feb. 10 2000)

Bahamas bulk carrier M/V MIRA NOR, 2,343 gross tons, built 1981, grounded in the Karmsundet, south of Haugesund on Feb 3 after experiencing steering system failure. (Mon. Feb. 7 2000)

The Panamanian vehicle carrier M/V ASIAN PARADE (55,680 gross), Dublin for Rotterdam with cars, grounded on the Codling Bank, off Dublin, in lat 53 08.02N, long 05 54.1W, Feb 3. Still aground Feb 4. Several tugs on scene. De-bunkering operations under way. (Sat. Feb. 5 2000)

The Singapore bulk carrier M/V NOL SCHEDAR (38,520 gross), Newcastle (Aus) for Sual with coal, grounded off Sual, Luzon Island, Jan 24. Refloated with tug assistance Jan 27. Emergency repairs to holes in her hull underway at Sual. (Fri. Feb. 4 2000)

The Singapore m bulk carrier NOL SCHEDAR (38,520 gross), Newcastle (Aus) for Sual with coal, grounded off Sual, Luzon Island, Jan 24. Refloated with tug assistance Jan 27. Emergency repairs to holes in her hull underway at Sual. (Fri. Feb. 4 2000)

The Liberian tanker M/T SLETREAL (5,451 gross) had an explosion on board while maneuvering to load crude oil at Cardenas, Cuba, & partially sank Jan 31. 3 crew missing. 2 crew injured. Some spillage of oil occurred. (Wed. Feb. 2 2000)

Passing Japanese ships rescued 23 crewmen from the disabled Panama-registered cargo vessel M/V Yan Yang in the South China Sea & gave them into Philippine custody, the Navy said on 31 Jan. The M/V Yan Yang, laden with logs, was on its way to China from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia on Friday when it ran into bad weather & its engine failed, Philippine navy chief Vice-Admiral Luisito Fernandez said. Two Japanese commercial vessels, one identified as the M/V Tsushima Maru, rescued the crew -- 22 Filipinos & a Myanmarese -- and turned them over to a Philippine Navy boat which was rushing to the scene. The Yan Yang was about 50 nautical miles from Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop west of the Philippines' Luzon Island, when its engine gave out, Fernandez said. There was no immediate word on what happened to the Yan Yang after its crew abandoned ship. (Tues. Feb. 1 2000)

The South Korean refrigerated M/V KYUNG CHUN (1,525 gt), Davao for Vladivostok, with bananas & pineapple, caught fire in engine-room 26 Jan in lat 12 13N, long 126 27E, 0808, Jan 26. Passing vessel responded & helped put fire out. No reported casualties. Vessel to be towed back to Cebu as fire destroyed her engine. (Tues. Feb. 1 2000)

Maltese tanker M/T MICHAEL (66,942 gt, built 1977), loaded with 90,000 barrels of oil, grounded at entrance to Delaware Bay on Jan 29. Lightering barge is alongside vessel and lightering operations are in hand before next refloating attempt. (Mon. Jan. 31 2000)

The Malaysian M/V YIAW YANG (5,577 gross), Sandakan for China, developed a severe list to starboard, flooding in Holds Nos. 1 & 2 and sank in lat 15 31N, long 117 03E, Jan 27. All crew rescued safely. (Sat. Jan. 29 2000)

The St.Vincent & Grenadines M/V RUI DA (4,942 gross), Malaysia for China with logs, took water & sank in about lat 11 47.3N, long 109 54.5E, Jan 27. All crew rescued. (Fri. Jan. 28 2000)

The Panamanian bulk carrier M/V MIN NOBLE (35,561 gross), for Port Muhammad Bin Qasim with coal, grounded between bouys 7&9 in the approach channel to the port Jan 24. Refloated same day & berthed Jan 26. To be inspected after discharge completed. (Thurs. Jan. 27 2000)

Twenty-three crew members of a the M/T Yiew Ying were rescued in South China Sea in a rescue operation mounted by the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Center. The center immediately mounted a search & rescue operation by alerting ships in the vicinity to locate the Cambodia-registered log carrier after it was informed of the ship's emergency situation at around 4:00 am 26 Feb., said the spokesman. At 7:50 PM, the center established communications with the motor tanker "Kwan Siu," which had responded to the appeal & arrived at the scene, about 429 nautical miles southeast from Hong Kong. The 117-meter cargo vessel M/V Yiew Ying was listing 35 degrees to starboard amid northeasterly wind of force 7 to 8 and very rough sea, according to a report of "Kwan Siu." Of the 23 crew members, 22 Filipinos & one Burmese, 14 boarded "Kwan Siu" and the others boarded M/V Tsushima, a Japanese vessel, which later joined the operation. At around 9:00 am today, as "Yiew Ying" continued to take in water, the captain decided to abandon the ship. (Wed. Jan. 26 2000)

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

OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace

6. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"

New Books:

  1. "The Business of Shipbuilding" .......... the latest addition to LLP Limited's Business of Shipping Series, which seeks to explain the nature of the business through practical examples used in the commercial environment.
  2. Customs Publications ........ as McMullin Publishers Ltd. has issued its list of Millennium 2000 Customs Publications, including titles on the U.S. and Canadian 2000 Customs Tariffs, Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized System, and handbooks & manuals on other world Customs systems.

The Boating Post ...... enjoy this online e-zine.

American Shipper's ........... "" liner database & related newswire sites which now cover every liner deepsea schedule in the world.

ComPair Schedules .......

Repositioning of Surplus Ocean Container Equipment

Ocean Containers Lost In Action

Felixstowe Newsletter .......... by our friend Pat Gardiner.

ShipChem ......... Eastman Chemical Co. & Global Logistics Technologies, a developer of Web-based logistics software, have formed an online logistics company called to offer an Internet portal-based logistics gateway for chemical manufacturers, distributors, carriers & 3rd party logistics providers to share information & conduct shipping transactions online. The company also plans to offer management services for customers that want to outsource logistics operations.

Export Regs On CD .......... as the newest U.S. EPA / environmental regulations are now on CD-ROM. All 24 Volumes of Title 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations have been updated to the latest 1999 revision levels. The CD-ROM contains all 50 CFR Titles.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety .........the published paper.

Portugal Hauls ......... as, a logistics marketplace just launched its service in Spain & Portugal with agent Tecni Publicaciones. Approximately 178,000 companies in Spain alone are involved in haulage, which makes a good potential for in this region.

China Southern Airlines ....... China's 1st air site.

China' Busiest Website

Standard & Poor's Insurance Company Rankings

Hoover IPO

OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World

7. New U.S. Transport Related Legal Cases

Insurance Company of North America v. NRR Aircargo Service (USA), Inc.
U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal
No. 98-55280 (02/04/00)
Before Circuit Judges Fletcher, Nelson & Brunetti

Holding: Freight forwarder invoice "Terms & Conditions of Service" of the NCBFAA may supplement shipping agreements if there has been a sufficient course of dealing between the parties. A container with nearly US$260,000 worth of golf balls was stolen from NRR, the freight handler. The invoice used for this transaction & 47 previous transactions stated that liability was limited to $50.00 per shipment. Plaintiff made 5 separate arguments as to why its recovery should exceed $50.00. The court rejected all 5 arguments. AFFIRMED IN FAVOR OF THE FORWARDER. This ruling follows a long line of court decisions which uphold the trading terms of U.S. freight forwarders & customs brokers.

For the full opinion

For details on the use of U.S. "Terms & Conditions of Service" to protect your forwader-broker business, go to

8. The Boeing Chicken Launcher

In the 1950s the aircraft industry was faced with a problem: Birds. As aircraft speeds increased it became possible for a bird hitting the windshield to break through it, injuring or killing the pilot. The chemical companys got to work to come up with stronger glass & then plastic coatings for the glass as a way to mitigate the problem.

OK, so how do you test such a thing? After all, planes don't hit a large bird head-ob very often. Well, the good folks at Boeing designed a bird canon, air powered & capable at launching a chicken into a test windshield at near supersonic speeds. Work progressed on both the glass improvements & the canon. They succeeded in making chickens fly really well for short distances and created unbreakable glass as well.

So where's the funny story?

Well, British aviation had the same problem and decided to ask Boeing if they could use their 'Chicken Canon' for their own tests. Of course they could, so off it went to the UK. The engineers carefully set up the tests, put their best glass compounds on a mock plane cabin & hit the "fire" button. To their dismay the bird crashed through the glass! Not just through the glass, but literally into the seat behind the glass, and through the bulkhead behind the seat, destroying a metal encased piece of electronic equipment behind the bulkhead.

Slightly shaken the UK aviation experts called the engineers back at Seattle, asking "Has this ever happened to you?" "Nope" was the reply. However the designers of the wonderful 'Chicken Launcher' offered to analyze details of the test & give any advice they could.

The engineers at Boeing reviewed the data. Then one week later, the following telegram was issued from Seattle to their British counterparts.

"Next time, thaw the chicken!"

Note: This is a true story from years ago, now found by one of our readers, reprinted in Air & Business Travel News.

Written from wire stories, the Associated Press, Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News Lloyds & other world sources. [an error occurred while processing this directive]