The owner of the Ever Given, the cargo vessel that got stuck in the Suez Canal for a week and sparked an international shipping crisis hampering global trade, is expected to be slammed with several legal claims.
The 400 meters long, MV Ever Given was stuck in the Suez Canal for several days this March. It shut off route in both directions and severely hammered global trade.
According to Bloomberg, the scale of future litigation against the vessel’s owners was laid bare at a London court hearing. Lawyers won a court order to put any potential claims on hold for two months.
Two subsidiaries of the Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the container vessel’s owner, and Evergreen Group, a Taiwanese conglomerate that operated under it under a long-term charter, asked a London judge for the stay.
Earlier this year, they obtained another order limiting some claims against the vessel to 84 million pounds ($116 million).
Stewart Buckingham, the Ever Given vessel’s owner’s court lawyer, said that they expect more claims to be lodged by individual cargo ship owners. This stay in proceedings will allow related and overlapping claims to be grouped, limiting legal costs and, at the same time, saving the court’s time.
“The position of the ship was such that they aren’t liable at all for the grounding incident or any of its consequences,” Buckingham stated in a court filing.
When the ship got stuck, it was being led by a Suez Canal pilot, who earlier took over from the harbour pilot who was driving the ship from the Suez anchorage into the canal, Buckingham asserted.
The owners also contend that there were no injuries or deaths, nor was any pollution caused by the incident. In addition, there was just minor damage to the vessel’s bow as a result of the incident.
Any claims filed in the UK will take years before reaching an outcome. However, arbitration may resolve some cases, which is a suitable alternative to lengthy and expensive court battles.