…As Owner appeals against ship seizure
Suez Canal Authority chief Osama Rabie has refuted reports that the crew of the Ever Given cargo ship, which completely blocked the waterway for days, was barred from leaving the vessel.
The Suez Canal Authority refuted the reports in a statement.
Earlier in the month, a court in the Egyptian city of Ismailia ruled to seize the cargo ship until the owner pays $900 million in compensation.
Ever Given currently remains anchored in the Great Bitter Lake area, which is the widest section of the canal, with its 23-strong crew aboard.
The situation led to the circulation of reports about the crew possibly facing arrest.
“The head of the canal authority explained that it does not prevent the crew from leaving the container ship or being replaced so that the vessel has enough crew members to operate, provided that the captain remains aboard … as well as the cargo,” the authority said.
It added that the reports about the crew being under arrest do not correspond with the reality.
The 1,300-feet container ship Ever Given, operated by a Taiwanese firm, ran aground in the Suez Canal on March 23.
After days of dredging and towing efforts, it was fully refloated on March 29, unblocking the vital trade link between Europe and Asia.
Meanwhile, owners of the ship have filed an appeal before the Ismailia court against Egypt’s decision to seize the vessel, according to London-based maritime insurer UK P&I.
“Despite the relentless efforts of the ship’s owners and its insurers, it was not possible to reach a solution far from the Egyptian judiciary,” a statement by the insurer said.
The statement indicated that the appeal highlighted the incorrectness of the seizure and the lack of evidence.
The appeal is expected to be heard on May 4.
Meanwhile, all parties will continue to negotiate with the Suez Canal Authority in a bid to reach an amicable solution.
After the ship was freed, talks began on compensation in the wake of losses incurred by the canal because of the blockage of the waterway.
The 400-meter-long vessel has been anchored in a lake between two sectors of the Suez Canal since it was refloated on March 29.
Ship movement along the waterway was disrupted for six days after the vessel ran aground.
The Suez Canal Authority has obtained a court order to detain the vessel.
Negotiations for compensation are continuing.