Ever Given’s case is due again in court on 20 June 2021, meanwhile…
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) lowered its claim against Ever Given’s owner to $500 million – citing miscalculation of cargo’s value onboard. Not only the UK Club is still not buying it, a Singapore-flagged vessel got stuck in the canal just a few days ago.
A massive media circus
With the Ever Given’s continual monetary tussle, it is unlikely the industry will extend any benefit of doubt to SCA – after witnessing the latter offering a 30 per cent rebate on the original claim and citing a miscalculation thereafter. Being a Panama-flagged vessel, Ever Given’s case got nowhere despite the Panama Maritime Authority’s visit to SCA, accompanied by Panama’s ambassador to Egypt.
After the discussion, SCA’s chairman hit back at Shoei Kisen on the incident – noting a death occurred during the operation to free the mammoth vessel. Rabie claimed Shoei Kisen did not demonstrate any due recognition, and there were damages to a number of participating marine units, plus sinking of one. Rabie also held Shoei Kisen responsible for SCA’s “reputational damages” suffered.
Nabil Zidan, SCA’s solicitor said, “There are endeavours to reach a settlement and because they are good clients, we are asking the court to postpone to negotiate and study the offer submitted by the owners.” Ahmed Abu Shanab, solicitor acting for Shoei Kisen seconded: “Negotiations are on and there’s flexibility from both sides.”
Another ship wedged
Just a few days back, Mærsk’s 366m long vessel called Emerald was stuck in the canal, and freed a few hours later. The SCA added four tugs were used to refloat the Emerald. It noted the ship was transiting in the northern end of the “new” Suez Canal, where there are two lanes of traffic, so impacts from the incident were minimal.
The length difference between Mærsk’s Emerald and Shoei Kisen’s Ever Given is only 30m. Mærsk’s case is a critical component questioning if SCA’s demand is valid. It certainly corroborates the UK Club’s stand on SCA’s demand as too high despite further reduction. With SCA’s citing miscalculations on the cargo values onboard, UK Club certainly has the upper hand in this legal wrestle.