Family's belongings stranded on Hanjin ship off LA coast amid bankruptcy issues

Leanne Suter Image
Saturday, September 17, 2016
The Jamal family is shown in an undated photo alongside images of Hanjin shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles.
The Jamal family is shown in an undated photo alongside images of Hanjin shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In the aftermath of the Hanjin Shipping Co. bankruptcy filing, a family's belongings have been stranded on a ship off the Los Angeles coast.

When Saqib Jamal and his wife decided to move their family from Chino Hills to Dubai, they knew it would be an adventure, but they never expected it to turn into a nightmare on the high seas.

All of their belongings are stuck in a Hanjin shipping container off the coast because the company filed for bankruptcy protection, which resulted in a halt on all of its shipments.

"We're literally living out of a suitcase with minimal stuff," Jamal said. "I mean the kids have school, but they don't have all their books, they don't have all their toys, their desk. Life is at a complete standstill."

Jamal had hired Crown Relocations to pack up his family's five-bedroom home and move everything to the Middle East. The family arrived in Dubai on Aug. 22, and their belongings were scheduled to arrive around Oct. 18.

But after the filing, 93 of Hanjins vessels became stranded offshore as the cash-strapped South Korean company struggles to find a way to unload billions of dollars of cargo. No one knows when the Jamal family may receive their belongings.

"Whether it's Crown's fault or not, to me, I have a contract with Crown. If they used some other service, or gave that container to somebody else - that's their problem. That shouldn't be my problem," Jamal said.

Jamal said the moving company told him its hands are tied and there was nothing it could do on its end.

The company released the following statement to Eyewitness News:

"Crown Relocations is working diligently to track the vessel's status on a daily basis and will make immediate arrangements to collect Mr. Saqib's container whenever and wherever it becomes available and ensure his belongings make it to their destination safely and as quickly as possible."

But the problem may be bigger than just the Jamal's belongings. Since they moved, the family is on Saqib Jamal's visa. If he can't show they have a home to live in - not a hotel - his wife and kids may have to return to Southern California.

"We're all cooped up in this little hotel room, and God knows for how long. There doesn't seem to be any progress," Jamal said.