Burned Car Carrier Hoegh Xiamen Declared a Total Loss

Hoegh Xiamen, June 4 (file image courtesy Jacksonville Fire Department)

Published Jul 3, 2020 3:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a brief statement issued Friday, shipowner Ocean Yield ASA reported that the burned car carrier Hoegh Xiamen has been declared a total constructive loss. 

The Hoegh Xiamen caught fire at an auto terminal at the Port of Jacksonville, Florida (Jaxport) on June 4. Nine firefighters were injured in an explosion aboard the vessel that evening, including five who require an extensive recovery period. 

The fire burned for days afterwards, monitored closely by a team of salvors and U.S. Coast Guard officials. The fire was confined to levels above deck six, and she remained on an even keel. Extensive hull cooling from firefighting vessels helped to keep the Hoegh Xiamen's structure from overheating and potentially failing. 

“There is no question that the quick actions and decisive leadership of [the U.S. Coast Guard and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department] prevented a very challenging situation from becoming much worse, and for that Jaxport is extremely grateful,” said Jaxport Board Chair Jamie Shelton at an award ceremony June 22. “Our firefighters and Coast Guard members did outstanding work under extremely difficult circumstances, and we thank them for their service to our port and our community.”

Hoegh Xiamen was carrying a consignment of used cars intended for export to the West African market, according to port authority Jaxport. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but insurers consider secondhand vehicles a higher fire risk than new cars. 
Ocean Yield expects to receive insurance proceeds of about $26 million in compensation for the vessel, which is close to the ship's book value. After repaying the remaining debt owed for the Hoegh Xiamen, the net cash proceeds will be about $8 million, the company said.