Lawsuit filed over Höegh Xiamen blaze

A Florida law firm, Pajcic & Pajcic, filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of 10 Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighters injured in a June explosion on the Höegh Xiamen car carrier.

On June 4, a fire started on the ship which was docked in the St Johns River at Blount Island. About 2,400 old cars had been loaded for transport to West Africa.

The lawsuit names Hoegh Autoliners Shipping, Hoegh Autoliners Management, Hoegh Autoliners, Horizon Terminal Services, Grimaldi Deepsea, and SSA Marine as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges the ship’s crew turned off the vessel’s fire alarm system, allowing a fire to spread unabated in the cargo decks. The lawsuit also claims that the cars batteries had not been disconnected.

“It was a recipe for disaster,” law firm partner Curry Pajcic said in a news release.

The Höegh Xiamen burned for eight days. Fire crews continuously sprayed water on the outside of the ship during the blaze.

“They ran into the storm, a storm created by an irresponsible company, an ill-equipped crew and dangerous cargo,” Pajcic claimed.

Hoegh Autoliners has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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