Fully loaded in the Suez Canal: the "Ever Given"
Photo: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY / REUTERS
In the dispute with the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority, the Japanese owners of the container ship "Ever Given" made a new offer - the authority's lawyer, Khaled Abu Bakr, announced on Sunday.
The Japanese leasing company Shoei Kisen Kaisha, who owns the ship, has now offered $ 150 million as compensation for the damage the ship caused to the authorities.
The "Ever Given" ran aground in March in the southern part of the Suez Canal, stood sideways in the canal and blocked the passage for other ships for six days.
The accident caused a mega-jam of around 400 ships in front of the canal entrance, which only slowly dissolved.
As a result, many ships reached their destination ports with considerable delay.
The "Ever Given" is still at anchor in the bitter lakes that connect the single-lane southern with the two-lane northern Suez Canal.
Technically, the onward journey would no longer be a problem, the ship and its 25-man crew are actually clear to sea.
But the Egyptian authorities want to refuse the freighter loaded with 18,000 containers until the question of compensation has been clarified.
The agency originally requested $ 916 million in damages, but later reduced its claim to $ 550 million. The Japanese owners and their insurers immediately contradicted this request and see the error that triggered the accident with the sewer authority. This should not have allowed the "Ever Given" to pass through the Suez Canal because of the bad weather. Experts believe that strong winds pressing against the towering containers on board could have contributed to the captain losing control.
Authority chief Osama Rabie declined any responsibility for the incident. He relies on international shipping rules, according to which the master has sole responsibility for a ship. "If he asks to postpone the canal voyage due to bad weather, his request will be met immediately," Rabie said in May.
The owners want to pass on at least a portion of the costs for the compensation payments to the customers, whose freight has been stuck on the "Ever Given" for three months.
In April, Shoei Kisen Kaisha sent letters to the victims from a London law firm asking them to declare that they would be providing security.
To do this, the company uses a procedure that is customary in the industry, which is referred to as “general average” and is usually part of the freight conditions.
The court's decision was originally scheduled for this Sunday.
At the instigation of the ship's owners, who are apparently hoping for an out-of-court settlement, this has been postponed to July 4th.
mak, with material from Reuters