March 28, 2023

Maritime Today Online

latest news and events in maritime and shipping

Ever Given’s owner blames Suez Canal for disruptive grounding

The owner of the now-famous boxship Ever Given, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, is pushing back against the Suez Canal Authority by seeking compensation for the vessel’s ongoing detention.

The SCA has filed a $900 million-plus claim against Shoei Kisen in connection with the refloat effort and the six-day shutdown, including an unusual $300 million charge for “reputational damages.” The authority has obtained an Egyptian court order to hold the vessel and its cargo until the shipowner pays in full; Shoei Kisen and insurer UK P&I have protested the outsize claim, and negotiations have not resolved the matter.

In an appeal filed Saturday at a court in Ismailia, Shoei Kisen alleged that the SCA – not the crew of the Ever Given – bore responsibility for the casualty. An attorney for the owner told Reuters that the SCA was at fault for allowing the ship into the tight confines of the southern canal during high winds – especially without a two-tug escort.

Further, Shoei Kisen is seeking a nominal $100,000 in damages for the ongoing detention of the vessel, which has delayed the delivery of its cargo and its ongoing commercial operations.

On Sunday, the court rejected Shoei Kisen’s claims and permitted the SCA to continue to hold the vessel in detention in the Great Bitter Lake.

The SCA denies any responsibility for the grounding, but it has quickly launched a multi-million-dollar effort to widen the existing southern section, which was not upgraded during Egypt’s major 2015 expansion of the northern canal. The present channel is substantially narrower than the length of the latest boxships, and its slim dimensions enabled the Ever Given’s double-ended grounding across the full width of the waterway.