Amidst the uncertainty of the release of the Ever Given crew from Egypt, the Suez Canal Authorities are allowing 2 Indian seafarers to go home. This comes at a time when the ship has been seized by the canal authorities who are demanding 916$ million compensation from the Japanese shop owner of Ever Given.
“Two crew members aboard the cargo vessel that blocked global shipping in the Suez Canal last month will be allowed to return to India owing to urgent personal circumstances, said the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
Meanwhile, the charterer of the ship, Evergreen has urged all parties to cooperate so that an agreement can be reached. They are also looking into separating the issue of the ship and crew so the seafarers are least affected.
“Evergreen was informed by the Japanese shipowners of M.V. Ever Given that the Vessel had already been officially arrested by the Court in Egypt on April 13, 2021,” said a statement issued by the company.
” In accordance with the information from the U.K. P&I Club, the protection and indemnity insurer for the Vessel, the shipowners received a claim from Suez Canal Authority (“SCA”) for the sum of US$ 916 million on April 7, 2021, to cover losses during Ever Given’s grounding in the Suez Canal. The amount includes a US$ 300 million claim for salvage bonus and a US$ 300 million claim for loss of reputation and so on”, EverGreen said.
“During the meeting between the shipowners and Suez Canal Authority on April 12, 2021, no consensus was reached as SCA’s claims are largely unsupported and lack any detailed justification. The following day (13th April), SCA immediately filed an application to arrest the Vessel and this has been granted by the Court,” it added.
The ship is presently anchored at the Greater Bitter Lake outside the canal for further investigation since March 29. The ship and the crew have been embroiled in a legal dispute over the compensation claim by SCA
SCA has made it clear that won’t let the ship go unless the demands are met. However, they are working with the shipping agency to look after the crew’s needs.
“We are sparing no effort to ensure the success of the negotiations”, said SCA.
Indian seafarers associations have expressed their concerns and solidarity for the seafarers. They have written to DG Shipping urging him to look into the matter and ensure their safety.