Owners will have to pay a big bill to get it back
The company salvaging the stricken container ship Rena has now confirmed the owners of cargo on board the ship will have to pay a big bill to get it back.
The Mediterranean Shipping Company, which chartered the container ship, and an adjuster working for salvage company Svitzer have sent letters to container owners, naming their price.
It comes after the company earlier refused to confirm details of the charges, which One News learnt about from sources.
The letters say owners will have to pay 80 per cent of the container’s value to get their property back.
They can get a cash discount if they pay up front in US dollars, plus freight and insurance costs.
The letters also warn that owners will have to pay fees to cover the storage cost of their container if they don’t pay within a certain timeframe.
It will be the highest charge in history to return shipwrecked goods, eclipsing the 60 per cent charged for cargo retrieved from the Napoli shipwreck off the British coast five years ago.
Svitzer spokesman Matthew Watson said his company was following standard global maritime salvage practices.
“If property owners have concerns about their belongings, they should make contact with the company responsible for the Rena, Mediterranean Shipping Company,” he said.
“This is a commercial matter between those responsible for the vessel, insurers, those with property on board and the salvors.”
Under maritime law, the company has a right to claim whatever it salvages and can then return the property if the owners guarantee to pay a percentage of its value.
The claim rate may go to arbitration in London, but it will probably not reduce the rate by much.
The Rena stranded on the Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty on October 5, causing a major oil spill.
So far, 167 of the more than 1300 containers on board have been removed by salvors.
Source: NZ Newswire
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