The Ever Given, a 400-meter long vessel that blocked Suez Canal for many days in March shackling the global trade, has finally begun its journey away from the canal after being held by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) for months. This does not mean that the situation has been dealt with completely as it is expected that the owners of the mighty vessel will be showered with a multitude of legal claims.
At the hearing in London Court on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, the owners were informed of the extent of the future litigation that is set to crawl up after this. The lawyers managed to convince the court to put any future claims on a hold for the next two months. This appeal to London court for a stay order was made by two affiliates of the vessel owners, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., and a Taiwanese corporation that managed it under a long-term charter, Evergreen Group.
A set of orders was obtained earlier this year which narrowed some claims of 84 million pounds against the vessel. Stewart Buckingham, the court lawyer at the hearing, made it clear that other than being sued by Evergreen, the owners of the vessel anticipate a truck-load of legal claims being filed by individual cargo owners. This stay order for the proceedings from the court will provide them a chance to stack overlapping claims together which will ultimately assist in saving proceedings cost and the court time. The stay order will also present the owners with a chance to pile information which will help them to defend themselves against the future claims.
In a court filing, the lawyer mentioned that it was the Suez Canal pilot who had taken the charge from the harbor pilot and was guiding the vessel from the anchorage to the canal; the owners are not responsible for the grounding and the concerns which followed.
The incident has not caused any mishaps, deaths or pollution in any way other than the few damages to the bow of the vessel because of the occurrence. The vessel owner’s lawyers did not respond to questions immediately and the Evergreen’s lawyer too refrained from commenting in any way. It will take years to reach a proper resolution for any lawsuit filed with the UK. These lengthy and big-budget court battles can be resolved by alternatives such as arbitration.