Relocating expats fear losing their possessions in container ship collision

Published:  26 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Canada, Dubai, UAE, Money, England
Expat families relocating back to the UK fear they’ve lost all their household and personal belongings after a container ship collision.

Following a cargo ship crash just outside a Pakistan cargo terminal during which some 20 containers fell overboard, 10 expat families returning from the UAE to the UK now fear their personal belongings may all be lost. The Tolten container ship, en route from Dubai to Felixstowe in the UK and owned and operated by Hapag-Lloyd, collided with another vessel during docking manoeuvres at the South East Asian Pakistan Terminal near Karachi.

Dubai-based relocation firms as well as shipping agents are attempting to determine whether goods under their responsibility were also on board the crippled vessel, whilst families who’d booked containers are trying to find out more about their shipments. An enquiry as to the cause of the collision is now underway and will include attributing liability for losses, but it’s still unclear which containers were lost and which are still on board.

Stef Burgon and her husband Simon had booked a part-container load for household and personal items they’d decided to send back to their home in Scotland. They were notified of the crash via an email from their shipping company and are now waiting for further news. According to Stef, the shipment included treasured personal effects including antiques and insurance had been taken out, but money won’t cover the losses.

Ala and Alison Ghanem had used a Dubai relocation company to send a 40 foot container back to the UK as they’re repatriating after almost three decades in Dubai. Again, they were notified via an email stating their shipment was on board the stricken ship, and are hoping against hope their container was one of the first to be loaded, thus protecting it from falling overboard. A delayed shipment, according to Alison, would be bad enough as they’d booked their relocation date to coincide with the arrival of their goods, but at least they’d know their shipment was safe.

The worst scenario would be if Hapag-Lloyd decide to institute ‘general average’, a procedure which would make all owners of goods on board proportionately liable for repair costs. Most insurances protect against general average, but delivery delays of up to eight months can be caused as insurance payments must be received before the shipments can be delivered. According to Hapag-Lloyd, the accident occurred whilst the ship was docking, causing its containers to slip and fall.
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