It’s been a while since we wrote about the Ever Given, the main character in perhaps one of the most complicated stories in shipping history which ironically doesn’t involve any damage to the ship or containers on board..
At least not yet, as no one knows about the status of the cargoes on board – especially perishable cargo in reefer containers or cargoes with a shelf life still inside the containers on board or any hazardous cargoes that maybe stewing in the hot African sun..
Just in case you have forgotten what happened, here is a recap and also the current status..
- The Ever Given, a 400m long container ship owned by Japanese owners Shoei Kisen Kaisha, operated by Taiwanese shipping line Evergreen Marine, managed technically by German’s Bernard Schulte, registered in Panama, crewed by Indians and insured by UK P&I Club, wedged itself diagonally across the 225m Suez Canal on the 23rd of March 2021
- On the 25th March 2021, the Suez Canal Authority officially announced temporary suspension of navigation through the Suez Canal
- The ship was freed and successfully refloated on 29th of March 2021 by which time, close to 400 vessels were queued up on both sides of the Canal
- The Ever Given was towed from where it was stuck, to the Bitter Lakes area in the East Mediterranean to recuperate from the trauma that it was subjected to, what with people and machines tugging, pulling, pushing, digging around and under it
- On the 1st of April, the vessel owners Shoei Kisen Kaisha, declared General Average
- After inspection, the ship was cleared for the journey by its classification society, The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
- On the 13th of April, the ship was arrested by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) in Egypt on the back of its claim for a sum of US$916 million on 7th of April 2021, to cover losses during the Ever Given’s grounding in the Suez Canal
- The ship remains at the Bitter Lakes area under arrest by the Suez Canal Authority till date
The ship owners, UK P&I Club and the SCA have been locked in discussions over several days/weeks since the all clear for the vessel to sail was given, but despite 2 failed court bids by the owners, the ship still remains stuck and arrested..
It seems however that the SCA may have softened its stand as it has been reported that the SCA is looking at releasing the Ever Given if they get a US$200m deposit in order to allow the vessel to proceed to its European destinations..
While this happened, lawyers for the vessel owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha has argued that the SCA was at fault for allowing the ship to enter the Canal during bad weather without at least two tug boats required for the safe navigation of a vessel of this size.. The Ever Given is 399.94m long, 59m wide with a depth of 32.9m..
Reuters is reporting that as per Ahmed Abu Ali, a member of the legal team, “the authority failed to prove any fault by the ship. Recordings from the ship that were presented to the court showed disagreements between SCA pilots and its control centre over whether it should enter the canal.”
Shoei Kisen Kaisha’s lawyers are claiming that the detention of the Ever Given is legally flawed because the work to release the ship was not “a salvage (operation) in the proper legal sense“, meaning the SCA could not seek compensation for such an operation..
The case is now going back to court on the 29th of May, more than 2 months after it was stuck on the banks of the Suez Canal..
You can read all articles about the Ever Given here..