Efforts by Evergreen, the operator of Ever Given, to have the vessel’s cargo separated from the ship in any legal action have failed.
The 20,000 teu Ever Given (IMO: 9811000) was arrested by Egyptian authorities, pending settlement of the Suez Canal Authority’s almost $1bn claim for compensation, after the grounding of the vessel shut down the key waterway for six days last month.
In a statement released on Friday, the Taiwan-based line said it was investigating the possibility of the vessel and its cargo being treated separately, so that it could remove cargo to other vessels, allowing it to continue to its destination.
But according to a spokesman for Evergreen, the Egyptian courts have since clarified that both the vessel and its cargo are under arrest and the company’s request has been denied.
“Evergreen had been investigating a possible transfer of cargo, but the plan didn’t get past the first legal hurdle,” the spokesman said.
Evergreen Marine UK honorary chairman Maurice Storey confirmed to Lloyd’s List that the line had formally requested permission from the SCA to offload containers and asked if they could be transferred to another ship.
It also remains unclear how Evergreen would have managed any offloading of cargo while the ship was in Egyptian waters. Neither Port Suez nor Port Said have sufficient draft for the fully laden ship to come alongside, which would have meant a complicated process to try and remove containers from the vessel while it remains in the Great Bitter Lake.
The decision will come as a blow to customers of Evergreen and its Ocean Alliance partners with cargo on board, which will now be delayed until a resolution is found regarding the SCA’s claim, the size of which has dismayed the insurance industry that will foot the bill.
Industry sources put real cost of the salvage and damage to the canal at a much lower $250m.
Source: Lloyds Loading List