Salvage Operation Ordered to Fight Cargo Fire on Ship Chartered to CMA CGM

Northern Juvenile in an undated photo is reported to be fighting a cargo fire

Published May 31, 2024 4:08 PM by The Maritime Executive


CMA CGM is warning customers that a salvage operation has been ordered for one of the containerships it has on charter for the Asia-West Africa service. Full details on the extent of the fire have not been released but in a customer advisory, the carrier was recommending that shippers notify their cargo underwriters without delay.

“We sincerely regret such an unfortunate situation that arose out of CMA CGM’s control,” the company writes in its advisory dated May 27. CMA CGM says the focus is on the safety of the crew.

What is known is that the vessel Northern Juvenile reported a cargo fire on May 26. The vessel, which was built in 2009 in South Korea by Daewoo, is 108,827 dwt with a capacity of 8,800 TEU. CMA CGM reports the vessel’s position as about 600 nautical miles from Port Klang, Malaysia while other reports place the vessel about 100 nautical miles southwest of Bande Aceh, Indonesia.

“We are advised that, as a result of the fire, shipowners have entered into a salvage agreement with professional salvors under LOF (Lloyd’s Open Forum) terms to provide firefighting and salvage assistance to the vessel,” reports claim consultancy WK Webster. They warn shippers that “salvage security will be required” and shippers could also be facing additional security demands if General Average is declared.

The vessel is owned by Norddeutsche Reedere who is overseeing the salvage while the vessel is managed by V Ships. It is unclear how long it has been on charter to CMA CGM but it previously sailed for carriers including Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, when in 2015 it became the largest containership to dock in Jacksonville, Florida. It has also sailed for APL and is presently registered in Portugal.

The Northern Juvenile made a stop in Singapore on May 23 after loading in China at Qingdao Port on May 7-8, Shanghai Port on May 9-10, Ningbo-Zhoushan Port on May 10-11, and Nansha Port on May 13-14. Chinese media reports are saying the vessel is fully loaded with Chinese goods and may be sharing boxes with Maersk, COSCO, OOCL, and Hapag-Lloyd. It was bound for Pointe Noire, Congo as one of four stops on the West Coast of Africa before returning to Singapore.

A current AIS signal shows the vessel is underway at 2 knots with possibly two tugs. It is at the northern end of the Malaca Strait. One of the tugs, Maju Mercury shows restricted maneuverability meaning it may be towing the containership and is showing a destination of Singapore.