Shipowner claims Suez Canal was at fault for Ever Given grounding: lawyer by Reuters

Shipowner claims Suez Canal was at fault for Ever Given grounding: lawyer by Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Grounded container ship Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, after grounding on March 26. SCA / via REUTERS / File Photo

CAIRO (Reuters) – The owner of a container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March said the canal authority was at fault for its grounding by challenging the vessel’s detention and a claim for compensation, a lawyer representing the owner said on Saturday.

On March 23, the Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, stuck across the canal in high winds and stood idle for six days, blocking two-way traffic and disrupting world trade.

The vessel has since been held up in a lake between two sections of the canal as the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) pursues a $ 916.5 million claim against Japanese owner Shoei Kisen.

An appeals chamber of the Ismailia Economic Court held hearings on Saturday on the vessel’s detention, which the SCA is seeking to enforce following an appeal by the owner, as well as on the financial demand of the SCA.

Lawyers representing Shoei Kisen argued that the SCA was at fault for allowing the vessel to enter the waterway in bad weather, Ahmed Abu Ali, a member of the legal team, told Reuters, adding that the authority had not proven the fault of the vessel. .

Records of the vessel that were presented to the court showed disagreements between SCA’s pilots and its control center over whether to enter the canal, Abu Ali said.

Lawyers for Shoei Kisen said the vessel should have been accompanied by at least two tugs suitable for the size of the vessel “but that did not happen,” he added.

The SCA did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but it has publicly denied being at fault.

Lawyers for Shoei Kisen also argued that Ever Given’s detention was legally flawed and that the work to free the ship was not “a rescue operation in the proper legal sense”, meaning that the SCA could not not ask for compensation for such an operation, Abu Dit Ali.

“It was one of the tasks of the authority under the traffic contract,” he said.

Shoei Kisen is claiming $ 100,000 in initial compensation for losses related to his detention, he said.

The court was due to render a decision on the case on Sunday, lawyers and witnesses said.

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