Salvage company clarifies media reports
Thursday, 8 December 2011 5:30 p.m.
NO DEMANDS FOR OWNERS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS TO PAY
SVITZER Salvage has clarified reports from a New Zealand media outlet regarding personal effects in containers onboard the Rena.
It is a standard and long-held practice for maritime Salvors to ask insurers of stricken vessels for a guarantee over a percentage of property on board, as a means to ensure that there will be payment for salvage work undertaken. Such salvage work is costly and protracted, and can present extreme commercial risks unless payment safeguards are in place.
Due to confidential arrangements with insurers and emotional factors concerning personal property owners, it is not appropriate for a salvage company to publicly discuss details of such arrangements.
However, given the difficult nature of the Rena operation and the lack of clarity on how long it may take and how much it may cost, SVITZER can confirm that the percentage safeguard is higher compared to some other salvage operations, but not out of proportion to other salvage operations.
The guarantee structure is a standard industry arrangement between SVITZER Salvage and the insurers of the Rena and her cargo. The percentage is indicative and precautionary and does not represent the actual payment to SVITER Salvage. The payment to SVITZER Salvage will not be known until the operation has concluded. The guarantees being arranged now are paid to the vessels insurers, who will ultimately pay SVITZER Salvage when the salvage costs are known.
In recent days a general notification was distributed to all parties with cargo on the Rena, giving broad and indicative advice about cargo security arrangements. This was standard communication sent by default.
The Charterer of the Rena - Mediterranean Shipping Company - has only informed SVITZER in recent days about how many containers with personal effects are on the Rena. According to MSC, there are only nine such containers on board.
SVITZER Salvage will NOT take security over any items in these nine containers that have been declared as holding personal effects and belongings. Such items include household furniture, appliances and vehicles. This means that owners of personal property on the Rena not destroyed or lost should get their belongings back, regardless of whether or not they are insured. There has never been an intention to hold security over such personal items.
Owners of personal property on the Rena should still liaise with their insurers to be clear of their circumstances, and the Rena Charterer, Mediterranean Shipping Company, which is ultimately responsible for the Rena grounding and associated salvage costs. Mediterranean Shipping Company is also responsible for handing personal effects back to their owners.
SVITZER Salvage will continue to focus on the complex Rena salvage operation.
Please direct all enquiries about this statement, or other matters relating to the Rena salvage operation, to Svitzer Salvage.