Egypt Watch

Ever Given’s lawyer: Suez Canal blockage was fault of Canal Authority

A lawyer representing the Japanese company that owns the giant container ship that impeded navigation in the Suez Canal said in March that the company had said that what happened is due to a mistake committed by the Canal Authority.

The Ever Given ship, one of the largest container ships in the world, ran aground in the Suez Canal in light of fierce winds on March 23 and remained in this position for six days. The giant ship stranded in the Suez Canal obstructed traffic in both directions and disrupted global trade traffic. The ship has since been held in a lake between the northern and southern parts of the canal, and the Canal Authority is demanding $916 million in compensation from the Choi Kisen company, which owns the ship.

Ahmed Abu Ali, a member of the Japanese company’s lawyer, told Reuters that the authority’s request for compensation for the accident obliges the authority to prove it was the ship’s fault, which has not yet been proven by the authority. He added that there are indications that the cause of the accident was a mistake by the authority for allowing the ship to pass through during unfavourable weather conditions, which caused it to run aground.

Abu Ali said that he provided the court with the ship’s black box recordings, which showed disagreements between two of the canal guides and the control centre of the Canal Authority regarding the ship’s entry to the shipping course in stormy weather. He added that the lawyers informed the court that at least two suitable tugs should have accompanied the ship considering the size of the vessel, but this did not happen.

Abu Ali said that the team pointed out that legal defects marred an earlier decision by one of the economic court departments to detain the vessel. He pointed out that the seizure decision included the containers and goods on board the ship, even though the Japanese company does not own them.

The team of lawyers of the Japanese company submitted a request to the court to obtain temporary financial compensation of $100,000 from the Suez Canal Authority for seizing the ship and disrupting it.