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Ever Given: The whole story

Following the conclusion of a formal agreement between the EVER GIVEN’s owners and the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), the ship and her crew have departed The Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal. The EVER GIVEN will now proceed to Port Said, Egypt where a dive survey of the ship will be completed.

 

A settlement has been reached between the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., owner of the Ever Given – the ship which became stranded in the Suez Canal in March 2021 – which means the ship and its crew can now continue on its journey.

At a ceremony in the Suez town of Ismailia on Wednesday, an official contract was signed permitting the ship to leave the Great Bitter Lake section of the canal, where it had been impounded by the SCA after being refloated on March 29th, resulting in more than 3 months of negotiations.

“Ever Given” media statement 

We would like to thank the many parties who have worked tirelessly to bring about today’s outcome.

We would like to acknowledge the work and expertise of the SCA and others whose professionalism and dedication resulted in the ship being refloated within seven days of her going aground in the canal. Over the last three months we, along with the ship’s owners and other interests, have worked  closely with the SCA’s negotiations team to achieve today’s results.

We would also like to thank the network of lawyers and advisers who worked tirelessly to defend the owners’ interests, as well as the International Chamber of Shipping who took an early interest in the matter and whose network of international connections provided invaluable support in the negotiation process.

Lastly  and most importantly, we would like to acknowledge the position of the ship’s crew and their families who have been living in a state of uncertainty since the ship grounded in March. In addition to their routine duties onboard, the crew have worked closely with the SCA, salvors, investigators, lawyers and countless others, and throughout it all have consistently displayed a patient professionalism that is truly admirable.

The whole timeline below

“Ever Given” grounding in Suez Canal

Updated 1500 UTC 29 March 2021

We confirm that the container vessel “Ever Given” which grounded in the Suez Canal at about 0540 UTC on 23 March 2021 is insured by the UK Club for Protection and Indemnity (third party) liabilities.

The vessel was re-floated at about 1300 UTC on 29 March 2021. We congratulate the teams from the Suez Canal Authority and SMIT Salvage who coordinated the successful salvage operations.

We understand, from initial investigations, that the vessel grounded due to strong winds as it was transiting (with two canal pilots onboard) northbound through the canal en route to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

All crew are safe and accounted for and there have been no reports of pollution or cargo damage.

The UK Club has insured the owner of “Ever Given” for certain third party liabilities that might arise from an incident such as this – including, for example, damage caused to infrastructure or claims for obstruction. The vessel itself and its cargo will have been insured separately.  While the UK Club is unable to comment on any confidential insurance or potential claim details, all valid claims will be considered by the vessel owner, the UK Club and its legal advisors in due course. The UK Club is continuing to work with all parties involved.

“Ever Given” cooperating with all investigations

Updated 18:00 UTC 1 April 2021

We confirm that the container vessel “Ever Given” which grounded in the Suez Canal at about 0540 UTC on 23 March 2021 is insured by the UK Club for Protection and Indemnity (third party) liabilities.

The vessel was re-floated at about 1300 UTC on 29 March 2021 and is now safely anchored in the Great Bitter Lake while hull inspections are completed to determine what repairs may be required.

The vessel owners and managers are providing full cooperation to all relevant authorities including the Suez Canal Authority and the Panamanian investigators. The vessel’s Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) data and all other requested information has been provided to the investigators.

We understand, from initial investigations, that the vessel grounded due to strong winds as it was transiting (with two canal pilots onboard) northbound through the canal en route to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The vessel’s 25 crew are all safe and accounted for. They remain onboard to assist with the ongoing investigations.

The UK Club has insured the owner of “Ever Given” for certain third party liabilities that might arise from an incident such as this – including, for example, damage caused to infrastructure or claims for obstruction. The vessel itself and its cargo will have been insured separately.  While the UK Club is unable to comment on any confidential insurance or potential claim details, all valid claims will be considered by the vessel owner, the UK Club and its legal advisors in due course. The UK Club is continuing to work with all parties involved.

Disappointed by arrest of “Ever Given”

Updated 1500 UTC 13 April 2021

On 7 April, the owners of the container vessel “Ever Given” received a claim from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) for the sum of US $916 million. Despite the magnitude of the claim which was largely unsupported, the owners and their insurers have been negotiating in good faith with the SCA. On 12 April, a carefully considered and generous offer was made to the SCA to settle their claim. We are disappointed by the SCA’s subsequent decision to arrest the vessel today.  We are also disappointed at comments by the SCA that the ship will be held in Egypt until compensation is paid, and that her crew will be unable to leave the vessel during this time.

The SCA has not provided a detailed justification for this extraordinarily large claim. The grounding resulted in no pollution and no reported injuries. The vessel was re-floated after six days and the Suez Canal promptly resumed their commercial operations.The P&I aspects of the claim are relatively modest, with the exception of a claim for loss of reputation, which is disputed.

Owners have cooperated fully with the SCA throughout their investigation into the cause of the grounding, which we understand is now complete.  When the grounding occurred, the vessel was fully operational with no defects in her machinery and/or equipment and she was fully manned by a competent and professional Master and crew. Navigation was being conducted under the supervision of two SCA pilots, in accordance with the Suez Canal Rules of Navigation.

The vessel’s classification society, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), completed their surveys on 4 April 2021 and issued a certificate of fitness to allow the vessel to move from Great Bitter Lake to Port Said where she will then undergo re-inspection before completing her voyage to Rotterdam. The owners will continue to negotiate with the SCA.

The UK Club is working with all parties involved. Our priority is the fair and swift resolution of this claim to ensure the release of the vessel and cargo and, more importantly, her crew of 25 who remain on board.

Background:

“Ever Given” grounded in the Suez Canal at about 0540 UTC on 23 March 2021 and following the efforts of the ship’s crew, international salvage experts and local resources coordinated by the SCA, she was re-floated at about 1300 UTC on 29 March 2021 and moved to anchor at Great Bitter Lake where she remains.

The vessel owners and managers have provided full cooperation to the SCA throughout their investigations. The vessel’s Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) data and all other requested information has been provided to the investigators.

The UK Club has insured the owner of “Ever Given” for certain third-party liabilities that might arise from an incident such as this – including, for example, damage caused to infrastructure or claims for obstruction. The vessel itself and its cargo will have been insured separately.  While the UK Club is unable to comment on any confidential insurance or potential claim details, all valid claims will be considered by the vessel owner, the UK Club and its legal advisors in due course.

“Ever Given” owners file appeal

Updated 1100 UTC 23 April 2021

On 22 April 2021, the owners of the container vessel “Ever Given” filed an appeal before the Ismailia court of first instance in Egypt against the arrest of the “Ever Given” and her cargo.

Despite the sincere efforts of the “Ever Given’s” owners and their insurers, it has not been possible to resolve this matter without the continued involvement of the Egyptian Courts. 22 April 2021 was the last possible day for the filing of such an appeal.

The appeal against the arrest was made on several grounds, including the validity of the arrest obtained in respect of the cargo and the lack of supporting evidence for the SCA’s very significant claim.

The appeal will be heard on 4 May 2021.

The “Ever Given” interests will continue to negotiate in good faith with the SCA to reach an amicable resolution. We are encouraged that the SCA recently allowed two of the vessel’s crew members to return home for compassionate reasons, whilst the vessel remains under detention.

Twenty-three of the 25 crew onboard at the time of the grounding remain onboard and are being supported by two additional seafarers who have joined the vessel. All 25 crew onboard are Indian nationals. The crew are receiving every possible support from the vessel’s owner and technical manager. The vessel is well provisioned, and the crew have internet access and can speak with their families, however they are concerned at the prospect of being unable to leave the vessel or continue their voyage.

The UK Club’s priority remains the fair and swift resolution of the SCA’s claim to enable the vessel to continue on her intended voyage and to allow the crew to leave Egypt.

Ever Given owners’ appeal rejected

Updated 13:00 UTC 5 May 2021

The Ismailia court of first instance in Egypt has heard the appeal made by the owners of the Ever Given against the arrest of the ship and her cargo. The appeal was rejected and the Ismalia Court upheld their original order that the vessel and her cargo can only be released from arrest upon the Owners’ payment of the SCA’s full claim of US$916 million,  instead of releasing the vessel based on security for the claim being provided.

The Ever Given’s owners have until 20 May 2021 to appeal.

The Ever Given’s interests will continue to negotiate in good faith with the SCA to reach an amicable resolution, which remains the UK Club’s priority, along with enabling the vessel and her cargo and crew to continue its intended voyage.

Validation hearing

Updated 20:00 UTC 23 May 2021

The validation hearing of the Suez Canal Authority’s claim arising from the grounding of the Ever Given, and the Ever Given owners’ further appeal against the arrest order both took place in the Ismailia Economic Appeals Court in Egypt on Saturday 22 May. In a reserved judgment issued today, the Court rejected the owners appeal but accepted the owners’ objection that the Appeals Court was not competent to hear the validation proceedings, which were referred back to a court of first instance for further hearing on Saturday 29 May. The Ever Given’s interests continue to make every effort to negotiate a fair settlement with the SCA.

SCA Press Conference

Updated – 08:30 UTC 3 June 2021

The UK Club welcomes the Suez Canal Authority’s (SCA’s) announcement during their press conference on 30 May 2021 that they are reassessing their claim in light of the valuations of the ship and cargo which have been provided by the Ever Given interests. Since the start of this case, the owners of the Ever Given and their insurers have been committed to the fair resolution of this matter and we look forward to reaching a resolution as soon as is practicable.

We are concerned by the allegations made by the SCA during the press conference and in the media against the ship and the Master of Ever Given. The owners of the Ever Given and their P&I and hull and machinery insurers look forward to responding to these allegations within the Egyptian court proceedings. Critically it is important to clarify that whilst the master is ultimately responsible for the vessel, navigation in the Canal transit within a convoy is controlled by the Suez Canal pilots and SCA vessel traffic management services. Such controls include the speed of the transit and the availability of escort tugs.

The Ever Given’s owners and their P&I and hull and machinery insurers fully acknowledge that the SCA is entitled to compensation for their legitimate claims arising out of this incident. We have insured the vessel for certain third party liabilities of the SCA’s claims.

The UK Club continues to work with the Ever Given’s owners and their other insurers to reach a fair and amicable resolution.

Updated – 14.30 UTC 29 May 2021

The Ismailia Economic Court of First Instance today adjourned the proceedings in the claim of the Suez Canal Authority arising from the 23 March 2021 grounding of the Ever Given until 20 June 2021, to allow further settlement discussions to take place between the parties.

Since the start of this case, the owners of the Ever Given and their insurers have been committed to an amicable and fair resolution of this matter and remain so. We look forward to further discussions and bringing this matter to a close as soon as is practicable.

Update

Updated – 16:55 UTC 16 June 2021

The UK Club reports that, on authority from the owner and together with the ship’s other insurers it is currently engaged in serious and constructive negotiations with the Suez Canal Authority regarding the Authority’s claim arising from the grounding of the Ever Given, and is hopeful of a positive resolution to these negotiations in the near future.

The UK Club also wishes to provide an update in connection with the Limitation Proceedings commenced by the owners of the Ever Given in the High Court of London and advise that procedural hearings are due to take place in the near future. For the avoidance of doubt, these proceedings do not involve the Suez Canal Authority.

Update

Sunday, 13:30 UTC 20 June 2021

Over the course of more than 15 days, in extended, long and arduous, but positive working sessions, the UK Club together with the ship’s other insurers have been engaged in negotiations with the committee assigned by the Suez Canal Authority on the grounding incident of Ever Given.

We agreed that the details of such negotiations would remain confidential. During the negotiations a proposal was submitted that we believe satisfies all the requirements of the SCA. Accordingly, the owners and their insurers requested and confirmed to the Ismailia Economic Court of First Instance in today’s hearing (Sunday June 20, 2021) their clear desire to adjourn the hearing in order to take the necessary time to reach a final and amicable solution that satisfies all parties.

Agreement in principle reached

Update Wednesday 23 June, 9:00 UTC

The UK Club is pleased to announce that, following extensive discussions with the Suez Canal Authority’s negotiating committee over the past few weeks, an agreement in principle between the parties has been reached. Together with the owner and the ship’s other insurers we are now working with the SCA to finalise a signed settlement agreement as soon as possible. Once the formalities have been dealt with, arrangements for the release of the vessel will be made.

Formal solution agreed

Updated – Sunday 4 July 2021, 15:00 UTC

The UK Club is pleased to announce that, following the agreement in principle between the parties, and after further meetings with the Suez Canal Authority’s negotiating committee and numerous court hearings, good progress has been made and a formal solution has now been agreed. Preparations for the release of the vessel will be made and an event marking the agreement will be held at the Authority’s headquarters in Ismailia in due course.

     

    This article is shared by courtesy of The UK P&I Club, one of the oldest P&I clubs in the world. It has endured for a century and a half with its continuing focus on mutuality. The UK Club has remained constant, weathering periods of profound economic and political change.

    The loss prevention department was one of the earliest in the P&I business, and it remains the most extensive, helping to reduce members’ exposure to claims.

     

     

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