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Court of Appeals finds Stolt Tank Containers and Deltech liable in MSC Flaminia fire case

Stolt-Nielsen reported that the Court of Appeals has affirmed by two to one, in all material respects the ruling on liability from 2018 by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding the 2012 incident on board the MSC Flaminia.

Stolt Tank Containers BV has been found at fault for 45% together with Deltech for 55%.

Stolt-Nielsen expressed its disappointment with the decision of the Court upholding the lower courts 2018 decision. The company is currently assessing the legal and financial implications of the Court's decision, which included a dissenting opinion and is considering further appeals and mitigations.

According to the assessment of the potential liability for the full award, Stolt-Nielsen will record a loss provision related to the ruling in its second quarter financials, due to be reported on 6 July 2023, of US$155 million, which net of tax will impact the company's net profit for the quarter by approximately US$115 million.

Stolt-Nielsen stated it has liquidity in place to fund its potential liability and remains in a financially strong position.

The aforementioned ruling concerns the fire incident that took place on 14 July 2012, when a fire broke out in cargo hold number four aboard the MSC Flaminia, while the boxship was crossing the Atlantic Ocean. During the crew members' attempts to extinguish the fire, an explosion occurred.

Stolt Tank Containers had 29 tank containers onboard the vessel, three of which were stowed in cargo hold number four.

On 29 May 2013, the vessel interests, namely the owner, manager and operator filed counter and crossclaims against Stolt Tank Containers and Deltech, the shipper of the three tank containers stowed in cargo hold number 4, alleging that these tank containers were the cause of the fire and that Stolt Tank Containers did not adequately warn of the inherently dangerous nature of the cargo.

The Phase 2 trial was completed in August 2018. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York delivered a judgment on September 10, 2018, which held the Group jointly and severally liable with Deltech for the incident.

Antonis Karamalegkos
Managing Editor

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