Lawyers for Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the owner of the Ever Given which ran aground in the Suez Canal in March, have blamed the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) for the accident, and are claiming US$100,000 in initial compensation for the detention of the vessel.
Earlier this month the SCA dropped its claim against Shoei Kisen by US$300 million, from US$916 million, but insurers the UK P&I Club remained unmoved by the news. On 22 May the owner’s legal team argued that the SCA should not have allowed the vessel to enter the canal without at least two tugs aiding its transit due to the poor weather conditions.
Voice recordings were played to the court in Ismailia that demonstrated the dispute between the two SCA pilots on board the vessel and the control centre over whether the 20,000TEU ship should be allowed to enter the waterway.
Moreover, the lawyers argue that the refloating of Ever Given was not a salvage operation, but was an element of the contract between the owners of the ship and the SCA, which the SCA was contractually bound to fulfil.
Meanwhile, the SCA has said that the Ever Given will be allowed to leave the Great Bitter Lake if the owners paid a US200 million deposit. The ships has been held in the confines of the lake since it was freed from the grounding, pending the outcome of the SCA claim against the owner.