Photo: Ever Given; Image credit: Suez Canal Authority

Ever Given’s owner files appeal against ship’s arrest

Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha has filed an appeal before the Ismalia court in Egypt against the arrest of Ever Given and its cargo.

As reported earlier, the containership was arrested on April 13, as the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and the shipowners failed to reach a deal on the compensation claim for the ship’s grounding in the canal.

Namely, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is seeking $ 916 million in damages for the costs incurred by the ship’s blockage of the waterway.

According to the UK P&I Club, the appeal was filed on April 22, 2021.

“The appeal against the arrest was made on several grounds, including the validity of the arrest obtained in respect of the cargo and the lack of supporting evidence for the SCA’s very significant claim,” the insurer said.

The appeal will be heard on 4 May 2021.

The UK P&O Club said that the appeal was made as it ‘has not been possible to resolve this matter without the continued involvement of the Egyptian courts.’

Meanwhile, the talks between the two sides on the compensation claim are continuing.

“The ‘Ever Given’ interests will continue to negotiate in good faith with the SCA to reach an amicable resolution. We are encouraged that the SCA recently allowed two of the vessel’s crew members to return home for compassionate reasons, whilst the vessel remains under detention,” the London-based insurer said.

As informed, twenty-three of the 25 crew onboard at the time of the grounding remain onboard and are being supported by two additional seafarers who have joined the vessel. All 25 crew onboard are Indian nationals.

The crew received a visit from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) recently.

The crew is said to be in good spirits, and doing well, with all salaries paid and the vessel well provisioned.

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“The crew are receiving every possible support from the vessel’s owner and technical manager,” the UK P&0 said.

“The vessel is well provisioned, and the crew have internet access and can speak with their families, however, they are concerned at the prospect of being unable to leave the vessel or continue their voyage.”

The union has also raised fears that the crew members might be held hostage to the situation, especially if the talks on compensation payment continue to prolong.

On Monday, the head of SCA Osama Rabie said that the ship’s crew was not arrested, refuting media reports on the matter.

He added that the authority had no objection to the crew’s leaving or replacement, provided that an adequate percentage of sailors necessary to secure the ship is guaranteed, along with the continued presence of the ship’s captain.

Rabie voiced his hopes that the ongoing negotiations with the owner of Ever Given and the insurance company to reach consensual solutions suitable for all parties will yield fruit soon.

He said that SCA was dealing with all the specific requirements of the negotiation with complete flexibility, in full respect for international norms in these sorts of situations.

In the meantime, Evergreen, the charterer of the ship, is said to be investigating the scope of the court order to arrest the ship. The company pointed out that it was looking into the possibility of the vessel and the cargo on board being treated separately.

The investigation into the cause of the grounding of the giant containership is still ongoing, according to SCA.