Ever Given remains stuck in Egypt as legal battle over its release drags out
A court in Ismalia, Egypt rejected the appeal of the owners of Ever Given, a containership that ran aground in the Suez Canal in March, against the ship’s arrest order.
The Japanese shipowner Shoei Kisen Kaisha filed an appeal before the Ismalia court in Egypt against the arrest of Ever Given and its cargo back in April.
The appeal was dismissed earlier this month and the Ismailia court of the first instance in Egypt upheld their original order that the vessel and her cargo can only be released from arrest upon the owners’ payment of the SCA’s full claim.
On Saturday, the Ismailia Economic Appeals Court in Egypt hosted a validation hearing of the Suez Canal Authority’s claim arising from the Ever Given’s grounding, and the Ever Given owners’ further appeal against the arrest order.
“In a reserved judgment issued today (May 22), the court rejected the owners’ appeal but accepted the owners’ objection that the Appeals Court was not competent to hear the validation proceedings, which were referred back to a court of first instance for further hearing on Saturday 29 May,” the UK P&I Club, the liability insurance provider for the owner, said in an update.
The club said that talks between the Suez Canal Authority and the owners of the ship resume.
Meanwhile, the canal authority continues to seek damage claims worth $916 million for the grounding, citing costs arising from the salvage of the ship, dredging works as well as the losses represented by the sinking of one of the boats during the rescue work, which claimed the life of one rescue worker.
SCA also wants to be compensated for the impact of the traffic suspension in the waterway during the grounding period as numerous ships opted for alternative routes due to the incident.
Chairman of SCA Osama Rabie has reportedly offered to lower the claim to $550 million, slightly lower than the $600 million offered earlier this month for a potential out-of-court settlement, Reuters reported citing a TV interview at a local media outlet.
According to the report, Rabie said a $200 million deposit could be enough to secure the ship’s release, with the rest payable separately.
However, when Offshore Energy-Green Marine reached out to the owners for a comment on the matter earlier this month, the UK Club explained that the reduced amount had not been reflected in the SCA’s claim filed at court.
“Ever Given’s owners still have not been provided with evidence that would support a claim of this size, which remains exceptionally large,” the statement read.
Separately, during the hearing the owners’ defense team said that SCA was responsible for the accident as it allowed the containership to sail under unfavorable circumstances.
To remind, Ever Given was faced with poor visibility resulting from the bad weather conditions as a dust storm was passing through the country.
The legal team said there were disagreements between SCA pilots and its control centre over whether it should enter the canal, adding the ship should have been accompanied by at least two tug boats suitable for the ship’s size.
As informed, Shoe Kisen is seeking damage compensation of $100,000 for the losses related to the ship’s arrest.
SCA has refuted all the claims from the shipowners’ defence team in its statement.