·Seize MV Ever Given, Demands $900 Million Compensation
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced on Thursday that it had responded to a request of two members of Ever Given crew to leave the ship and return home for personal emergency conditions, the SCA said in a statement.
“The SCA spares no efforts to ensure the success of negotiations and has been cooperating to meet all demands of the crew members of the currently confiscated ship,” the SCA said.
Chairman of the SCA Osama Rabie explained all the logistic needs of the ship’s crew are continuously provided via the shipping agency, and the SCA is ready to cooperate and coordinate for providing the needs of the crew and for understanding their humanitarian issues.
An Egyptian court decided on Tuesday to confiscate the Panama-flagged ship that blocked the crucial waterway for nearly a week until paying 900 million U.S. dollars as compensation for the canal losses.
Rabie added that investigations on the ship were still undergoing in parallel with continuing the negotiations with the ship’s owner and insurer to reach a convenient deal for all parties.
On March 29, the traffic in Suez Canal resumed after the massive container ship Ever Given has been successfully refloated.
The SCA said it cleared a maritime traffic jam of more than 420 vessels waiting on both ends of the Suez Canal and in the Great Bitter Lake and the canal was back to its normal average.
Meanwhile, after days of speculation, it has now come to the forefront that the Suez Canal Authorities have seized the Ever Given ship over compensation issue. “Egypt has formally arrested MV Ever Given container ship with a court order (issued by the Court of Ismailia City), pending a compensation payment of 900 million dollars,” said MedWave Shipping Agency Libya.
While the reports of the arrest couldn’t be verified but it has been confirmed by several reports that the ship has been seized. Commenting on this new development, the National Shipping Board member Capt Sanjay Prashar said that there was no official confirmation regarding this but the crew is likely to be detained for a long haul.
“Observing the situation, it is clear that the Suez Canal Authority wants compensation for the mishap. If it does not get this, the issue will prolong,” Prashar said.
This means trouble for the ship and its crew as they can’t leave Egypt until the compensation is paid. Earlier, the Suez Canal Authorities claimed 1$ billion for the transit revenue loss and the cost of refloating the grounded ship. They have asked for the compensation amount from the Japanese shipping company that owned the vessel or other parties associated with it.
15 days have passed since the investigation started on the ship anchored at the Great Bitter Lake, outside the Canal.
Meanwhile, the Japanese shipping company has declared ‘General Average’ making the compensation a shared burden of all parties involved including the charterers, insurance agencies and the cargo owners.
This is likely to widen the procedure of getting the compensation.
Now, the situation is problematic for the Indian crew of the ship who are up for it in the long haul whether the ship is formally detained or not.
“If the ship is formally arrested, the seafarers are placed under house arrest until the case is resolved. They will be provided accommodation and that is where they will have to stay and not move out until the matter is resolved,” explained Captain Prashar.
The Canal Authorities trying for an out of court settlement has made it clear that they are not letting the ship and the crew go until their demands are met.
If the shipowners contest the claim, it will result in a civil dispute which will result in the deposition of the partial compensation amount in the court. When that happens, the canal authorities might agree to let go of the ship.
“But until the case is resolved, if not all the crew, officers in responsible positions on the ship may be detained and placed under house arrest,” a shipping expert said.
This is the established norm that is followed by all countries.