Ever Given Shipowner Blames Suez Canal For Grounding And Blockage
As the Ever Given ship grounding in the Suez Canal turns into the biggest legal battle for the maritime world this year, the shipowner of the grounded vessel has blamed the SCA for the incident.
Speaking at a court hearing, the lawyer representing the Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen said that the canal authorities were responsible for the grounding.
They were arguing over a legal matter regarding the SCA’s $916 million compensation claim for salvaging the grounded ship and the loss of transit fees during the period of canal blockage.
The Cab Authorities are being blamed for letting the ship transit through the waterway despite the bad weather. The lawyers have submitted evidence from the ship’s black box to validate their allegation. In the black box conversation 2 canal pilots can be heard arguing with the control centre regarding the transit of the vessel.
Moreover, the authorities have failed to prove their point and provide evidence that the ship’s crew were at fault, said the lawyer.
The lawyer has further underlined that the shipowner is demanding 100,000$ as an initial compensation for the loss that they have encountered because of SCA’s decision of holding the ship ransom for compensation. The lawyers have further argued that the canal authorities should have let 2 tug boats accompany the ship in that condition.
The SCA on its part has denied these allegations saying that the decision to transit solely relies on the captain of the ship and the canal pilots are merely there to guide.
The lawyers have deemed the ship’s detention on demand of the compensation a legally flawed decision. They have further stated that the salvage operation wasn’t even a proper legal salvage operation in the first place. So, the SCA can’t seek compensation for that.
They have termed it as one of the duties that has befallen the SCA according to the traffic contract. The court will deliver its decision on the next hearing which is on Sunday.
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I am of the opinion that if the SCA charges fees for transition of the ships, it is the duty of SCA to safely transport the ships in the canal. Any issue should be charged to the SCA and the ships should be compensated. But here it seems they are charging the ship instead!