CAIRO – 3 April 2022: The Egyptian Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has obtained the largest compensation ever globally over the history of maritime navigation for the losses incurred due to the grounding of the Japanese vessel MV EVER GIVEN last year, said Egyptian Lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr, the SCA legal consultant during the negotiations of the compensation.
In comments to DMC, Abu Bakr said that Egypt has obtained appropriate compensation and a modern locomotive as part of the compensation, noting that the ship was released from the Bitter Lake in Ismailia after paying the compensation. The lawyer added that the crisis of grounding the ship caused $9 billion in losses for the global maritime trade.
The Panama-flagged ship went aground on March 23, 2021, in the 151 km of the Suez Canal, where the vessels in both directions pass, causing the suspension of international maritime navigation through the canal for six days. After it was freed on March 29, 2021. The Suez Canal Authority reached a confidential settlement with the owner of the massive ship that would allow the ship to finally leave the canal after 107 days from the accident.
Before reaching an agreement between the authority and Japan, Egypt had asked for 916 million in compensation for damages caused by the grounding of the ship, the salvage operation, and for loss of reputation. In a statement issued on April 14, 2021, the operator (Evergreen Line) said that Egypt has asked for $ 916 million, including a “claim for salvage bonus and a US$ 300 million claim for loss of reputation and so on.”
However, the Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the Japanese owner of the seized vessel “M.V. EVER GIVEN,” the operator and the insurance company (UK P&I Club) saw that the compensation required was very large and since then the negotiations between the SCA and the owners have been conducted.
The situation was complicated when an economic court in Ismailia governorate issued on April 13, 2021, a decision to officially arrest the ship until paying $ 916 million in compensation. Later, the owners filed an appeal before the Ismailia court of the first instance against the decision of arresting the ship and her cargo. However, the court rejected the appeal. Afterward, the SCA reduced the amount of compensation claims from $916 million to $600 million but the Japanese Company wanted to reduce the compensation sum from $600 million to $150 million.
Then, the SCA, in May 2021, hired Egyptian Lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr to join the legal committee presenting the Suez Canal Authority.
On the first anniversary of refloating the Ever Given ship, the SCA held a big celebration on March 29, 2022, at the headquarters of the SCA in Ismailia.
During the celebrations, a documentary on the maritime movement on the day of the ship grounding was screened. The film showed that after a number of vessels passing through the canal on that day, ship number 13 (Ever Given) could not pass due to its grounding at the southern entrance of the Suez Canal on March 23, 2021 at 7:40 am.
Immediately a committee was tasked to solve the crisis and a tiny bulldozer was sent to help. Then, the authority framed its refloating plan depending on the tidal wave and other navigation factors, using the Dutch and Egyptian giant tugging boats, the documentary shows.
After six days of blocking the canal and impeding the maritime movement, Ever Given was successfully refloated on March 29, 2021, at 3:15 pm.
Titled “The Achievement” and performed by actor Iyad Nassar, another documentary showed the importance of the Suez Canal in the maritime trading movement, as an alternative to the Cape of Good Hope, and how impeding the trade movement through it could cause a loss of $17 million a day.
The documentary also talked about the importance of dredgers in refloating Ever Given, as this was the first time ever dredgers were used in refloating a ship.
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