Ever Given court proceedings adjourned to allow for settlement talks

Ever Given
Ever Given, Image courtesy: SCA

The Ismailia Economic Court of First Instance in Egypt has adjourned the proceedings in the claim of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) over Ever Given’s grounding until June 20, 2021.

This period is expected to allow for further settlement discussions to take place between the owners of the vessel Shoei Kisen Kaisha and the canal authority.

“Since the start of this case, the owners of the Ever Given and their insurers have been committed to an amicable and fair resolution of this matter and remain so. We look forward to further discussions and bringing this matter to a close as soon as is practicable,” the indemnity insurer of the vessel UK P&I Club said.

The Suez Canal Authority has reduced the value of the required compensation by 40% from $916 million to $550 million, provided that $200 million is paid in advance, while the remaining $350 million is paid as letters of guarantee issued by an “A class” bank in Egypt.

The offer is yet to be accepted by the owners of the ship.

In a recent statement, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said that the investigations of the incident caused by the Panamanian-flagged container ship Ever Given was caused by a mistake in directing the ship, which is the responsibility of the ship’s master and not the authority’s pilots, as the pilots’ opinion is advisory and non-binding.

Therefore, SCA believes the owners and operators bear the responsibility for damages that may befall the authority, its property, others, or the ship itself.

 The containership was arrested on April 13, 2021 after SCA and the shipowners failed to reach a deal on the compensation claim, as the latter felt the amount to be too high and unsupported.

The ship has been anchored in the Great Bitter Lakes region since March 29, 2021, awaiting for the legal battle over compensation to be resolved.

Ever Given is manned by 25 Indian sailors. The seafarers whose contracts had expired were allowed to carry out crew changes and sign off.

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Meanwhile, another containership ran aground in the canal last week. Rabie confirmed in a statement on May 29, that Maersk Emerald suffered engine trouble while transiting the waterway in the southbound convoy.

The Suez Canal Authority’s salvage groups managed to refloat the vesel quickly with the assistance of 4 tugboats. The vessel resumed its transit through the canal after the vessel’s crew carried out the neccesary repairs while at anchor at the Great Bitter Lakes.

The SCA Chairman highlighted that the navigation through the canal was not impacted as the transit of the South-bound convoy was shifted to the New Suez Canal through the Eastern Al-Defreswar by-pass.

The Singaporean-flagged containership Maersk Emerald is 353 meters -long and has a beam of 48 meters. The ship was loaded with a cargo of 146 thousand tons. All crew members were reported to be safe.