Dislodged ship held in Suez Canal as compensation talks continue

TOKYO (Reuters) – A ship that blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week in March has not been given clearance to leave the waterway as discussions continue over a compensation claim made to the vessel’s owner Shoei Kisen, an official from the Japanese company said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Ship Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal, Egypt March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo

The Ever Given has been in a lake separating two sections of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29, as the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) conducts investigations.

Yumi Shinohara, deputy manager with owner Shoei Kisen’s fleet management department, confirmed the canal had made a compensation claim but gave no further details.

A source with the Suez Canal Authority, who declined to be named, told Reuters a court order had been issued for the ship to be held, adding that negotiations were still taking place.

Results of the SCA’s investigation were expected to be announced by the end of the week, two canal sources added.

SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said on Egyptian TV last week that the Ever Given would not leave until the investigation was finished and compensation paid. He also said the canal had borne “great moral damage” as well as shipping fee losses and salvage operation costs. He has also said he hoped to settle matters amicably.

International supply chains were thrown into disarray when the 400 metre (430 yard) Ever Given ran aground in the canal on March 23.

Specialist rescue teams took six days to free the vessel, delaying the passage of more than 400 ships and causing others to divert around Africa.

Industry sources told Reuters last week that reinsurers were set to foot most of the bill for the ship’s grounding, with payouts expected to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ships typically have protection & indemnity (P&I) insurance, which covers third party liability claims including environmental damage and injury. Separate hull and machinery policies cover vessels against physical damage.

Shoei Kisen’s Shinohara said the vessel’s P&I insurer UK Club had received compensation claims for the delays. The UK Club told Reuters “a handful of claims” had been received, declining further comment.

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