Linda Dulkin

Seized cargo ship remains in outer harbour

Crew members and baby knitwear, among many other cargo items, remain stranded on the Hanjin Scarlet container ship

Crew members and baby knitwear, among many other cargo items, remain stranded on the Hanjin Scarlet container ship in Prince Rupert’s outer harbour since the vessel was seized on Sept. 14.

The Hanjin Shipping Company sent waves around the world when it filed for receivership on Aug. 31 after its creditors decided to not offer it any more financial support. Once the cargo destined for Prince Rupert was arranged to be unloaded, DP World arrested the vessel to claim unpaid bills from the shipping company.

While the legal process continues, and the Christmas season edges closer, Carol Lavinthal, who runs a baby clothing store called Huggalugs out of the Seattle area, says she is desperate.

“I have cargo on that ship that’s destined for Seattle and seriously there is no information that we can get our hands on. Our shipper can’t give me anything. No one can tell me anything other than it’s under arrest,” she said over the phone.

Lavinthal shared a container with another person through her shipper and when her cargo was only two days away from coming into the Seattle port she heard that the Hanjin Scarlet had been seized.

“It is screwing up my shipments so badly I’m so desperate for that merchandise. It’s sweaters that coordinate with all these cute little hats that I have and we sell to retail stores and they don’t want their shipment without it being complete. They don’t want the hats without the sweaters,” she said.

Her other concern is that once the ship is released and arrives in Seattle, it may be seized again.

However, she received a letter of warning from DB Schenker, the freight logistics services provider, on Aug. 31 stating that they “are working diligently to take possession of all of our customer’s shipments as they arrive and become available at destination or as they are awaiting vessel at origin points.”

The only update available from the Port of Prince Rupert is that the same 22 crew members are still aboard the Hanjin Scarlet but they’ve had supplies delivered to them.

The captain of the vessel hired a chandler to purchase five pallets of supplies and food that was delivered to the crew, confirmed Monika Côté, a communications officer for the port.

“The vessel has been given permission by the port authority to burn some fuel in order to run its onboard generators for electricity and heating, as well as to run the onboard desalination facility. So they can at least make water,” Michael Gurney the manager of corporate communications for the port, said. He added that he’s heard the crew are in good spirits.

Once the legal issues have been remedied between DP World and the Hanjin Shipping Co. the Hanjin Scarlet’s next scheduled ports of call after Prince Rupert is Seattle, Vancouver and back to Tokyo.

“Of course, this is under normal circumstances — what happens next with the vessel has yet to be determined,” Gurney said.

 

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