Egyptian Officials Accuse Ever Given’s Captain of Losing Control of Ship in Suez Canal

Officials in Egypt are accusing the captain of the Ever Given, a cargo ship that had been hauling wheat, of losing control of his ship in the Suez Canal. The Ever Given entered the canal in the early August, but was supposed to return on September 20. The ship never made it out of the canal and was lost. The Suez Canal is at the heart of the Suez Canal Authority a very busy waterway in Egypt. The canal is one of the world’s most important waterways and is used by large ships that can carry more cargo. The Suez Canal Authority has not commented on the issue.

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ISMAILIA, Egypt – Egyptian authorities have filed the most concrete charges against the captain of a container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March. They accuse the captain of losing control of the Ever Given and hitting the bank of a vital waterway. The ship swerved left and right before hitting the bank of the canal, said Syed Sheisha, chief investigator of the Suez Canal Authority. The captain gave eight orders for 12 minutes in an attempt to get the ship back into position. The question of who was responsible for the accident is central to the dispute over the amount of compensation to be paid by the shipowners. Egyptian authorities seized the vessel in April and are now demanding $550 million for lost revenue, damage to the canal and salvage costs. The Japanese company that owns the vessel, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, did not respond to calls and emails for comment. The company managing the vessel, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement Ltd, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for the Japanese company had earlier accused the Suez Canal Authority of allowing the ship to enter the canal during a severe sandstorm that was raging in Egypt at the time. The initial investigation into the accident focused on a sudden gust of wind. Earlier this month, the appeals chamber of Ismailia’s economic court listened to recordings of a disagreement between pilots of the Suez Canal Authority and its control center over whether a ship was allowed to enter the canal, according to people familiar with the matter. Lawyers representing Shoei Kisen Kaisha stated that the authorities should not have allowed the vessel to enter the waterway and that the vessel should have been accompanied by at least two tugs. word-image-11993

The Egyptian authorities have requested $550 million to cover lost revenue, damage to the canal and rescue costs for Ever Given.

Photo: dpa/Zuma Press Ever Given’s insurer, the UK P&I Club, said the insurer and shipowners were determined to settle the matter fairly and amicably, in remarks made Saturday before Egyptian authorities filed charges against the captain. The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest cargo ships, departed on the 23rd. Mars ran aground in the Suez Canal, causing chaos in the global supply chain with hundreds of stranded ships on both sides of the canal. The ship was launched on the 29th. March after six days of work by Egyptian engineers and sailors freed with the help of a special Dutch rescue company. Egyptian authorities arrested the ship on 12. April seized and refused to let him leave the country until the Japanese owners agreed to pay compensation. The Suez Canal Authority initially demanded more than $900 million, but later reduced the amount it asked for as compensation. We had originally estimated the value of the cargo at $3 billion. Our share of these costs is set at $912 million for the above expenses. When the shipowners told us the value of the cargo was $750 million, we lowered our demands, Mr. Sheisha said. The ship, with its cargo of about 18,000 containers and a crew of Indian sailors, remains anchored in the Great Bitter Lake, which separates the two segments of the canal. Sheisha told reporters at the Suez Canal Authority headquarters on Sunday that the authority had completed its own investigation into the cause of the accident and blamed the incident on the captain’s mistakes. He stated that as the vessel entered the channel, it turned to the right and the master attempted to bring the vessel back to center. He said the captain accelerated when the ship was too slow to respond. According to Mr Sheishi, the vessel turned left, then right and collided with the bank of the canal. The trial before the Ismailia Economic Court on the fate of the ship is underway, but both sides have requested that the trial be postponed until the 20th day. June. The Suez Canal Authority has sent the results of its investigation to the International Maritime Organization, Sheisha said, but noted that Egyptian officials would not release the full report while compensation negotiations are ongoing. The ship’s crew had not been allowed to leave the ship since it ran aground. The union leaders representing the crew said the sailors had been treated well but expressed concern that they could remain stranded in Egypt indefinitely if the dispute was not resolved soon. Two crew members were allowed to leave the country on April 15 for urgent personal reasons, the Suez Canal Authority said. -Samer Said contributed to this article. Email Jared Malsin at jared.malsin@wsj.com. Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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