Tragic collision in the Ukrainian grain corridor: Three Syrian crew members feared dead Tragic collision in the Ukrainian grain corridor: Three Syrian crew members feared dead

On March 26, a 9,000 TEU vessel named Dali collided with a support pylon of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, resulting in significant damage to the ship, its cargo, and the bridge itself, tragically claiming six lives.

As the maritime community grapples with the aftermath, questions arise regarding the responsibility for damages. Maritime claims consultancy WK Webster has indicated that General Average (GA) may now be in effect.

General Average is a principle in maritime law where all parties involved in a sea voyage share the losses incurred. This includes the shipper, shipowner, manager, and charterer. Consequently, before cargo can be released, stakeholders may be required to pay a security deposit, representing their share of the damage.

This process can be complex and lengthy. Insurers will assess the actual value of the cargo onboard to determine each party's liability, a process known as GA adjustment.

WK Webster advises stakeholders to provide necessary instructions and documents promptly to facilitate the issuance of GA securities for cargo release. Additionally, they have initiated an investigation into the incident to evaluate potential defenses to contribution in GA.

Although GA is typically declared after a ship casualty is freed and taken to a place of refuge, in this case, the early removal of some containers from the Dali's deck may have prompted the declaration.

Ultimately, the declaration of GA underscores the need for collaboration and swift action in addressing the aftermath of maritime incidents.