‘Ever Given’ Crew Could Be Stranded For Years Amid Court Battle
Ever since Egyptian authorities seized “Ever Given,” the massive container ship that notoriously blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week and demanded hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from its owners, the world has forgotten about the vessel and its crew. But as the ship is moored on the side of Great Bitter Lake in the middle of the Suez Canal for nearly a month. New concerns mount that Ever Given’s owners might be unwilling to pay the court-ordered fine, which could strand the vessel for months if not years.
According to The Guardian, crew members trapped on commercial vessels involved in international disputes are not uncommon. The British newspaper details the fate of one sailor who’s been trapped on an abandoned container ship moored off the Gulf of Suez for two years.
Mohammad Aisha is the custodian of the 4,000-tonne MV Aman. The vessel is involved in a prolonged legal battle to sell the vessel and pay the crew.
It is surprisingly common for ships and their crews to be stranded and sometimes abandoned due to disappearing owners, pay disputes and management troubles – widespread enough that the International Labour Organization maintains a database of cases of abandoned seafarers. – The Guardian
Last week, representatives from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), an umbrella union representing seafarers, checked on the crew’s wellbeing of Ever Given as it appears the court battle could be a long-drawn-out process.
For the ITF and its partners at the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), the priority in the case of the Ever Given is ensuring that the 26-person Indian crew are protected as a legal battle rages around the ship. It is now at anchor in the Great Bitter Lake after it was dislodged from the banks of the Suez Canal. – The Guardian
Last week, an Egyptian court ordered Ever Given’s Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, to pay a whopping $916 million in damages due to the six-day blockage. Ahram Gate, a state-run website, reported early last week that Egyptian authorities seized the vessel until owners pay the fine.
Ever Given’s Current Location (as of 0944 ET Friday)
The compensation payment Egypt seeks includes lost revenue from the ships that would have transited the waterway during the blockage and damages to the canal and the equipment and labor to dislodge the mega container ship from the canal’s bank.
According to Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Ever Given’s owners are contesting the compensatory damages, and “they do not want to pay anything.” That’s where things could get complicated in court and why Ever Given and its crew of 26 Indians could be moored in the Great Bitter Lake for an extended period.
“Figuring this out between all the international corporations and insurance companies and government agencies could take years,” said Jalopnik, adding that the ship, “sailing under the Panamanian flag, owned by a Japanese company, operated by a German company, staffed by Indians and stuck in Egypt has no international guarantees of rights for its workers not to end up in a kind of floating solitary confinement.”
It’s anyone’s guess when the Ever Given court battle will be solved.
Fri, 04/23/2021 – 22:00