Evergreen Marine Corporation, often referred to only as Evergreen, is a large container shipping company that is headquartered in Taiwan. The main routes that it uses to ship goods are between Europe and North America, East Asia and Europe, East Asia to Australia, and East Asia and North and Central America. It is the fourth-largest container shipping company in the world with a combined container capacity approaching one million TEU.
Evergreen brands its shipping as the Evergreen Line, which encompasses several divisions based in Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Hong Kong. Shipping containers around the world is dangerous business and Evergreen’s hundreds of ships have seen more than a few accidents. Some of these cause damage only to things, while others may hurt or kill workers. These workers have rights under maritime law to fight the maritime company and seek compensation.
Among worldwide shipping companies, Evergreen is fairly young. Many other maritime companies date back to the 1800s, but Evergreen was founded in 1968 by Dr. Yung-Fa Chang. The company began with only one general cargo ship, which was second hand. Full container shipping service for the company started in 1975 and primarily included shipping between East Asia and the U.S. In 1984 Evergreen introduced two-day, round the world shipping, an innovative move that led Evergreen to temporarily become the largest shipping company in the world.
Evergreen Operations and Fleet
Evergreen is primarily a shipping company with a fleet of ships large enough to carry nearly one million TEU worth of containers in total. Evergreen operates in more than 80 countries and services hundreds of ports around the world. The ships can carry a variety of cargo, including reefer, or refrigerated cargo. The company’s containers are characteristically green with a white Evergreen logo, but the reefer containers are white with a green logo.
The Evergreen fleet of over 100 container ships includes those that can carry as much as 8,500 TEU and nearly 100,000 tonnage in gross weight. All ships have the capacity to carry refrigerated containers. Evergreen moves cargo all over the world, with its busiest routes going from East Asia to North and Central America and back again. The busiest route in this region is between China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the west coast of the U.S.
Evergreen and Safety
Evergreen launched the Evergreen Seafarer Training Center in 1999 to help prevent accidents, injuries and deaths, and environmental spills. The training facility is one of the most sophisticated of its kind and in 2001 was given an ISO-9001 in recognition of quality management. The company has received numerous other awards and recognitions since then for a commitment to training workers for safety and prevention.
Regardless of extensive training and numerous awards, Evergreen is not immune to accidents that cause damage and worker injuries. Container shipping is dangerous work and even with good training can end in tragedies. Workers may be hurt because of ship collisions, running aground, falls overboard, moving containers, and smaller incidents like trips and falls, miscommunications, or misunderstood directions and training or operational procedures.
Evergreen may have made a commitment to training workers, but that doesn’t mean that they have never been injured on the job. Maritime companies have a responsibility to their workers to provide environments and training that makes doing the job as safe as is reasonably possible. Even so, accidents happen, sometimes due to negligence on the part of the employer, and sometimes simply by accident.
Collisions are always newsworthy accidents, even when workers are fortunate enough to be spared injury. Such was the case in 2015 when one of Evergreen’s ships, the Ever Smart collided with the tanker Alexandra I. The collision occurred in the waters off of the United Arab Emirates and was blamed on poor judgement. A pilot was found to have left the Ever Smart too early and workers on that ship were not looking out well enough or monitoring the movement of the tanker with which they collided. No one was hurt and no environmental leaks happened, but both ships were significantly damaged.
Another incident that cost Evergreen money in damage to equipment occurred in 1987 in Baltimore. The Ever Living ship was in the process of docking in the port in Baltimore. It was docking during a snowstorm, which may have contributed to the accident. Part of the large ship hit the leg of a container crane worth $1.3 million. The crane fell and landed on a service building, but fortunately no one was hurt in the incident. The ship was not significantly damaged.
Not all incidents ended without harm to maritime workers. In 2012 a longshoreman in the Port of Elizabeth was injured in an accident and successfully sued Evergreen. He was on the Ever Decent when part of the deck gave way and sank six inches. He fell and hit his back, suffering extensive injuries. Evergreen eventually settled with the longshoreman who argued that the ship had not been adequately maintained and that led to his accident and injuries.
Maritime Workers’ Rights
The injured worker who won a settlement took advantage of his rights as a maritime worker. If you work in this industry, a set of maritime laws protects you and provides you with a way to get compensation in the event of an injury. The laws also offer an avenue for getting monetary damages for your loved ones if you are killed on the job. The laws vary in which kind of workers they apply to and the requirements for proving negligence.
If you are injured on the job, whether you are a seaman, a longshoreman, or an offshore oil and gas worker, one or more of these laws applies to you. Before you accept any agreements from your employer, let a professional and experienced maritime lawyer guide your next steps. A maritime company may try to give you less than you are really owed, so rely on this professional to make sure you get what you need.