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25 Indian nationals stuck on board as court upholds Ever Given detention in Suez Canal

sandhya@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 30, 2021
On March 23, the Ever Given ran aground while transiting northbound under pilotage through the Suez Canal en route to Rotterdam. The vessel was safely re-floated on March 29. — Reuters

BSM remains hopeful of a fair settlement with the SCA.


With an Egyptian court upholding the detention of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal, the fate of 25 Indian national crew members remains uncertain. An appeal by the Japanese owner of the container ship against the vessel’s detention in the Suez Canal — where it blocked traffic for six days in March after becoming grounded — was rejected, a lawyer said recently.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the ship manager of Ever Given, provided an update on the status of the crew members aboard on April 29, saying that there are 25 Indian national crew members on the vessel. Requests to allow the overdue crew to depart have been granted by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA). A BSM spokesperson, said: “We hope to see the case settled soon so that the ship can be released at the earliest opportunity. BSM remains hopeful of a fair settlement with the SCA.”

On March 23, the Ever Given ran aground while transiting northbound under pilotage through the Suez Canal en route to Rotterdam. The vessel was safely re-floated on March 29.

The UK Club, the Ever Given’s protection & indemnity (P&I) insurer, said, “The Ismailia Economic Court of First Instance adjourned the proceedings in the claim of the Suez Canal Authority arising from the March 23, 2021 grounding of the Ever Given until June 20, to allow further settlement discussions to take place between the parties. Since the start of this case, the owners of the Ever Given and their insurers have been committed to an amicable and fair resolution of this matter and remain so. We look forward to further discussions and bringing this matter to a close as soon as is practicable.”

Security demand by Suez Canal Authorities is slashed to $600 million. This amount has since been cut further with Suez Canal Authority Chairman and Managing Director, Osama Rabie saying — in a local TV interview — he’d be willing to accept a $550 million figure with a $200 million in deposit paid to secure the ship’s release to payout immediate bills to tugs and dredgers used for salvage.

“From our experience of 17 years in the claims business, P&I clubs [insurers for third-party liability of ships] issue an immediate letter of undertaking for vessels which are threatened to be held back due to third-party liabilities. Notably, in this case, the value of the asset itself is only $100 million. That said, $300 million offered to the courts by insurance is considered adequate under the circumstances by most professionals in the business,” said Captain Zarir Irani, chairman and board member of Constellation Marine Services.

The mental agony of the seafarers is being lost in the financial liabilities of the vessel, said Capt (Dr) Porus Dalal of GFS Ship Management in Dubai.

“Legal disputes will continue for years, especially for an incident of this magnitude. However, the seafarers should not be made into a scapegoat and humanitarian efforts must continue to ensure a physical and mentally healthy environment is maintained onboard,” added Dalal.

— sandhya@khaleejtimes.com

author

Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.





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