19 August 2003




VESSEL & Interveners

1 - IMO Number : 9196656 2 - Name of Ship : SEA-LAND EXPRESS
3 - Call Sign : KGJD 4 - Gross Tonnage : 36 629
5 - Type of Ship : Container Ship 6 -Year of Build : 1980
7 - Flag : U.S.A. 8 -Status of Ship : In Service
9 -   Registred Owner : STATE STREET BANK & TRUST 10 - Address : 225 Franklin Street, Boston Ma, USA
11 - Ship Manager : US SHIP MANAGEMENT 12 - Address : 4525 Sharon Road, Charlotte NC, USA
13 - Classification Society : American Bureau of Shipping 14 - P&I THOMAS MILLER P&I (UK)
15 - Surveyor :   16 - Sollicitor :  
17 - Hull Underwriters :   18 - Cargo Underwriters :  
19 - Others :

Smit Marine South Africa (Pty) Ltd and Swire Pacific Offshore Services Pte Ltd as salvors

20 - Others :  

NB : Information 1 to 14 are extracted from the database EQUASIS. Information are updated at the date of the casualty.

Information from 15 to 20 were found on public websites




Grounding of the Container Carrier "SEALAND EXPRESS" at Cape Town the 19 August 2003. The Salvage operation to refloat the vessel was succesful the 14 Septembre 2003.






Agrandir le plan




Date :

14 mai 2004 Source : Lloyds List


Sea-Land Express officers face charges from US authorities By Janet Porter


US authorities may bring charges against the master and two other crew members over the grounding of the Sea-Land Express containership near Cape Town last summer.

The incident gained worldwide notoriety after the disclosure that the stranded US flag vessel was carrying a number of containers loaded with uranium ore.

Some of these were lifted off by helicopter during the lengthy attempt to refloat the ship that was on charter to Maersk Sealand.

The US Coast Guard, which has just completed its investigation, concluded that "there is sufficient evidence of apparent negligence in the performance of duties to warrant referral for enforcement action against the master, chief mate and 2nd mate."

However, final evaluation of the evidence is still being completed, with a decision to be taken then on any action by the Coast Guard.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority, which published its findings earlier this year, left the matter of determining whether the crew were to blame to the Coast Guard's Activities/Marine Inspection Office Europe which investigated the accident.

However, the South African report noted that there was a situation "where four highly qualified men collectively ignore or fail to recognise a developing crisis situation or if they do, they fail to act in time."

The vessel, owned by US Ship Management Inc, was at anchor when it was dragged onto a sandbar close to the shore during a storm and remained wedged for almost a month. Considerable damage was sustained.



Date :

29 September 2003 Source : Cape Argus By Henri Du Plessis


Salvage Bill shocker


The owners of cargo aboard the Sealand Express at the time it ran aground - even something as minor as a TV set - will have to share the costs of the salvage operation that refloated her.

This is the fallout from a move by the ship's owners, United States Ship Management Incorporated, which cited a little-known but often used maritime principle of General Average.

General Average allows a ship owner to force all parties with an ownership interest in any aspect of the voyage to help pay for a salvage operation.

This means that even an individual who had goods aboard for shipping overseas would have to pay out a percentage of their value to help cover the costs.

The Sealand Express ran aground during a storm on a sandbank at Sunset Beach on August 19. She was refloated after a marathon salvage operation by Smit Marine South Africa.

For cargo owners to claim that crew were negligent during the disaster will not help, according to Captain Simon Pearson of the Cape Technikon's department of maritime studies.

Sources in the shipping industry confirmed the ship owner had declared General Average.

A spokesman for United States Ship Management at the weekend referred questions about the declaration to the company's lawyers.

Pearson said General Average was one of the oldest principles in maritime law. It dated back to laws valid in ancient Greece - Rhodian Law - centuries before marine insurance.

"The term implies some voluntary sacrifice of property made or extraordinary expenditure incurred in a time of peril threatening the whole property involved in a common maritime adventure, such as the voyage of the Sealand Express," he said.

"The sacrifice or expenditure would have been made to preserve the whole property from the peril it faced," he said.

"In this case, the fact that the ship, its cargo and all property involved had been saved from loss makes it possible for General Average to be declared."

Pearson said that not only the owners of cargo, but the suppliers of the containers and fuel oil aboard would have to chip in.

This meant shipping companies Maersk and Safmarine would also have to fork out.

"Another example of General Average, especially in the old days when the Rhodians (of the port of Rhodes) implemented the law, was when a ship was endangered to a point where some cargo had to be thrown overboard to save the ship.

"The ship owner and the owners of the surviving cargo would then have to contribute to a fund that would repay the owner of the lost cargo for his damages.

"When General Average is declared, an average adjuster is appointed. He appoints a General Average surveyor who determines the various types of damage.

"The adjuster will then arrange for General Average security deposits from the various parties before those parties can claim their goods."

The Sealand Express left Cape Town yesterday to go into drydock at Durban for repairs.

Date :

15 September 2003 Source : SAPA via IOL


The costs of the salvage of the Sealand Express will run into millions of rands, according to a maritime expert.

The vessel is currently berthed at the container terminal in Cape Town harbour after tugs pulled her off Sunset Beach on Saturday afternoon.
Evelyn Holtzhausen, spokesperson for the Sealand Express' American operators US Shipping Management, said surveyors were inspecting the vessel for damage.

Divers were also meant to conduct an external inspection but visibility in the water was not very good.

The cost would be 'absolutely' in the millions

He said when the cargo of just over a thousand containers was offloaded, she would go into dry dock for a proper inspection. If repairs were necessary, they would probably be carried out at a South African shipyard, in either Cape Town or Durban.

He was unable to give a figure on the cost of the three-and-a-half-week salvage operation, which involved a dredger, a helicopter, three tugs and environment protection measures.

"At this point insurers are assessing the situation and are unable to deliver a figure," he said.

However a maritime expert, who for professional reasons did not want to be named, told Sapa that the cost would be "absolutely" in the millions.

He said the costs depended partly on a formula involving the value of the ship, how dangerous the salvage operation was, and the costs incurred by the salvor.

In addition, there was the so-called Scopic, an agreement between salvors and insurers that allowed them to claim a fixed rate tariff for measures taken to prevent environmental pollution.


Date :

19 August 2003 Source :

Lloyd's Agency


London, Aug 19 - A press report, dated today, states: C.c. Sea-Land Express (32629 gt, built 1980) has run aground at Sunset beach in Milnerton north of Cape Town, the SABC has reported. Authorities say it apparently dragged its anchor in the heavy sea conditions. According to eye witnesses, the vessel has already been driven into the breakers along the coast. Eddie Bremner, the Cape Town Harbour Master, told the SABC sea conditions in the area are heavy. "We have still got a swell of about 3m to 3.5m and a southwester of about 30 knots." Cape weather service forecaster Steve Metcalfe said the present cold front was due to cold air blowing in from the South Pole and colliding with warmer air from the subtropical areas. Metcalfe said weather conditions like the very cold temperatures, rain and gale force winds associated with the cold front would prevail until tomorrow. A second, more moderate cold front was expected to hit the Western Cape on Saturday.






Sources :  



Hull :

TBA Cargo : TBA
Liability : TBA Fees : TBA
Others : TBA    

Sources :










NB : All the Information mentioned in this page are extracted from public and free access web sites or papers, magazines, etc. Our sources are mentioned. If any problem, please contact the webmaster.

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 NB : All the Information mentioned in this page are extracted from public and free access web sites or papers, magazines, etc. Our sources are mentioned. If any problem, please contact the webmaster. Close the window