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Egypt may file a $1bn claim for Suez Canal Blockage

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Ever Given – Photo Courtesy Suez Canal Authority

After the 400-meter-long, 20,388 teu Ever Given giant container vessel created a headline-grabbing traffic jam in the Suez Canal for nearly a week, Egypt could be preparing a $1 billion claim for damages.

According to Egypt’s Sada ElBalad news channel, Ossama Rabei, the president of the Suez Canal Authority, the $1 billion figure would cover damages from losses of transit fees, harm to the waterway during dredging and salvage efforts, and the expense of machinery and labor.

The Ever Given ship ran aground on March 23 in the southern part of the canal and was back afloat on Monday 29 March.

The charterer of the 2018-built Ever Given, Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine, said it is not responsible for any disruptions in cargo it was transporting and estimates only minimal costs for possible failure and harm resulting from the waterway blockage.

Evergreen president Eric Hsieh was cited on local Taiwanese news on Thursday as saying, “Our risk exposure to the incident is very, very limited.”

Hsieh said “We are only responsible for the carriage of cargoes onboard. Even if we have some claims, those will be covered by insurance.

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Evergreen has claimed that the Japanese shipowner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, would be liable for all expenses incurred, including all future lawsuits from Egypt and third-party liability incurred as a consequence of the charter agreement.

Shoei Kisen, on the other side, has declared General Average. According to news, Richard Hogg Lindley has been appointed adjuster.

On March 29, when the Ever Given was refloated it was towed to Great Bitter Lake for inspection.

The event is being investigated by the Suez Canal Authority. The ship’s captain has yet to react to the canal authority’s requests, for the surrender of the voyage data recorder and documents requested for the inquiry, according to Rabei.

The backlog of ships waiting to pass Suez could be cleared over the weekend. If the question of compensation goes to court, the Ever Given may be kept in Egypt, but Rabie thinks this is doubtful.

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