The Suez Canal Authority is seeking $1bn in damages © Getty Images
The Suez Canal Authority is seeking $1bn in damages © Getty Images

Ever Given operator considers options after ship arrested

posted by Marino Donati
20 April 2021

The operator of the Ever Given ship that blocked the Suez Canal is exploring the possibility of treating the vessel and its cargo separately after the ship was arrested.

Evergreen Line’s chartered ship has been arrested by the Court in Egypt after its Japanese owners Shoei Kisen Kaisha received a claim from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) for almost $1bn in damages.

It has been estimated that the incident could have a $40bn impact on the supply chain. This latest development has raised concerns that getting the cargo and crew off the ship will be even more delayed.

The claim, which includes $300m for salvage and $300m for loss of reputation, totals $916m, Evergreen said.

UK P&I Club, which provides protection and indemnity insurance for the ship, said SCA had “not provided a detailed justification for this extraordinarily large claim” and it was “disappointed” that despite a “generous” offer to settle the claim SCA had arrested the vessel.

UK Club added: “We are also disappointed at comments by the SCA that the ship will be held in Egypt until compensation is paid, and that her crew will be unable to leave the vessel during this time.”

Evergreen said SCA’s claims “are largely unsupported and lack any detailed justification” and it is urging all concerned parties to facilitate a settlement agreement to be reached.

It said it was also investigating the scope of the court order and was “studying the possibility of the vessel and the cargo on board being treated separately”.

The vessel’s classification society, the American Bureau of Shipping, has issued a certificate of fitness to allow the vessel to move from Great Bitter Lake, where it is currently anchored, to Port Said to undergo re-inspection before completing its voyage to Rotterdam.

UK Club said the owners of the ship would continue to negotiate with SCA and it was working with all parties for a fair and swift resolution of this claim.

In the wake of press coverage of the grounding of the Ever Given, SCA put out a statement saying the authority had “spared no effort” to ensure that traffic through the canal was back to normal and that the incident had been dealt with “professionally and by means of the authority’s own capabilities”, including SCA’s dredgers, tugboats and nearly 600 SCA workers.

Osama Rabie, SCA chairman and managing director, confirmed that “any talk of maritime safety in the Suez Canal is not to be questioned nor it is subject for controversy as the SCA has taken preemptive measures in that regard since 2015”.

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