Suez Canal Chairman Hits Back Over Ever Given Blame

3 mins read  Sealuminati TeamJune 1, 2021

Osama Rabie (Chairman) of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) disclosed that when everyone was trying to free the 'Ever Given', a death was reported. This was added to defend the way the Ever Given grounding was handled.

The director-general of the Panamanian Maritime Authority along with Panama's ambassador to Egypt gave Egypt a visit as the Ever Given is flagged under them. During the visit, Admiral Rabie addressed Shoei Kisen (vessel owner), saying that he "did not show the due recognition deserved, which did not reflect an understanding of the huge losses incurred by the authorities due to the incident, which can be seen in the damage to several participating marine units and the sinking of one of SCA marine units during the salvage operations, resulting in the sinking of the vessel."

Further, the Japanese firm was also blamed for the following arrest of the ship in Egypt by him

"We relied on the principle of good intentions when dealing with the shipowning company as we responded to their request not to take immediate legal measures, and we waited for 11 days, during which we did not succeed in reaching an agreement commensurate with the losses we incurred, which forced us to resort to the court to legalize the status of the ship."

When the initial claim worth $916m was laid by the SCA's, the insurer of the vessel-UK P&I Club, straight away declared it to be "largely unsupportable". This declaration was based upon its estimation, as the value of cargo, container, and the vessel, according to them, if together added, stood at $2bn. Due to the absence of any prior knowledge about the combined value of goods, by the shipowner this happened, explained Rabie.

Currently, after the confirmation by him, the claim has been reduced to $550mby the SCA. Also, they declared that a down payment of $200m would be enough for them to set the vessel free.

According to Egyptian legislation, "whoever performs any salvage work [has] the right to receive a fair bonus, and the remuneration is determined according to the value of the ship and the value of the goods on board". Hence, the claim can be considered as a salvage bonus, added Rabie.

The Egyptian legislation also specifies that, if a vessel provides any damage to the canal, then the vessel should bear all the responsibilities regarding that. He also claimed that the two pilots onboard appointed by the SCA at the time of 'Ever Given' grounding just had the 'advisory capacity, whereas the captain had absolute control.

"The SCA chairman stressed the invalidity of the allegations that the authorities are responsible for the occurrence of the incident as a result of allowing the vessel to transit the canal under unfavourable circumstances; a claim that has nothing to do with the truth, as the navigation traffic in the Suez Canal runs normally even during the bad weather, which is what happened on the day of the incident", added another SCA spokesperson.

The canal has witnessed the transit of 12 north-bound convoy vessels, before the Ever Given mishappening, the spokesperson added.