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Evergreen Line declares force majeure on Israel shipment

Taiwan-based container shipping line Evergreen has declared force majeure on a shipment to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The Ever Cozy (IMO 9904510) diverted to Haifa due to safety concerns, according to a customer note seen by Reuters. The line told clients in the advisory that the situation was beyond its control and that all cargo destined for Ashdod had been discharged at Haifa, adding that “thereafter, the subject contract of carriage is treated as terminated and all carrier’s responsibilities shall cease.”

It advised clients that “to protect your interests and to minimize your costs exposure, we sincerely suggest you to take delivery of the goods at port of Haifa as soon as possible. If necessary, we encourage you to contact your cargo insurer for assistance.”

The notice is one of the first force majeures declared since the October 7th attack by Hamas on a large number of Israeli settlements in the area near to the Gaza Strip.

While the smaller Ashkelon port, which is the closest terminal to Gaza, effectively has shut, the position at Ashdod, one of Israel’s two major ports, has been more nuanced. Ashdod has remained open – with restrictions on the transport of hazardous goods including flammable and explosive materials.

In the note to customers, dated October 16th and seen by Reuters, Evergreen said it was informed about the “persisting unsafe situation” at Ashdod port “As the situation is beyond Evergreen Line’s control, we are formally declaring ‘force majeure’,” the advisory said.

Ashdod Port said in its latest website update that employees continued to work “at a time when the port is operating with constant siren alerts for incoming missiles”.

Three ships including an oil tanker remained at anchor waiting to enter Ashdod on Tuesday, according to MarineTraffic data. There were around 10 ships inside the port, including other container vessels.

The build up around Haifa has increased in recent days and 16 ships were anchored near the port on Tuesday.

As noted in yesterday’s IMN, in which Gard’s Marie Kelly, vice-president, Defence Global wrote that, “as things stand (under English law) the conflict is unlikely to constitute a Force Majeure event unless the vessel had orders to load at Ashkelon and they could not be complied with”. Kelly also noted that, with force majeure, “everything depends on the wording of the clause which must be considered very carefully”.

In the latest update (October 18th) from UK Club correspondent M. Dizengoff P&I Representative Ltd, and local correspondent Harpaz P&I, it was stated that at Ashdod the port was “operational but working under emergency regulations. The Ashdod area is constantly being attacked by rockets, less than Ashkelon, but still quite frequently”.

At Ashkelon the correspondents said that “[the] oil jetty is under constant rocket attacks. Whilst it is officially ‘open’, it is practically closed and vessels are required to arrange their arrival/entrance to the port with the navy”.

2021-built, Italy-flagged, 17,970 gt Ever Cozy is owned by Evergreen Marine Corp of Taipei, Taiwan. ISM manager is Italia Marittima SpA of Trieste, Italy. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Evergreen Marine Corp (Taiwan) Ltd and with Gard AS for Hull (claims leader) on behalf of Italia Maritime SpA.

Source: Marine Insurance News

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