M/S Ever Given US$1 billion scandal in the Suez Canal 2021

(what to do when your ship is illegally arrested by pirates asking $1b ransom - easy, listen to me, declare a Constructive Total Loss and abandon the ship using your lifeboat!)

 

Anders Björkman - Heiwa Co - European Agency for Safety at Sea

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M/S Ever Given is one of the world's largest container ships, L ~399.98 m, B ~59 m, d ~15.5 m, DWT ~200.000 tons.

In the morning of 23 March 2021 M/S Ever Given at Suez anchorage took on a Suez Canal Pilot that told the ship to enter the Suez Canal in a convoy for a peaceful, toll paid transit from south, Suez, to north, Port Said at 8-9 knots speed that it had done before many times. A few minutes later the ship for unknown reasons at 13-14 knots speed got stuck in the canal! And the Suez Canal Authority, SCA, decided to blame (1) the ship owner, (2) the Master, (3) the ship charterer and (4) and cargo owners for it.

How stupid can SCA be?

Wrongful arrest (but the crew can leave)

The ship is since 13 April 2021 wrongfully arrested in the Suez Canal by an Egyptian court at the request of a stupid Canal Authority, which alleges it has suffered "damages" of $916 million, which includes $300 million for "salvage", $300 million for “loss of reputation” and $316 million for "canal damages".

In my opinion the arrest is not only stupid but illegal. An honest Egyptian court cannot order an arrest of a ship like that. There is no evidence of any serious damages to the canal, costs of salvage and loss of reputation! Not even the ship itself is damaged, nor its cargo! And why arrest the ship at all? If the owner doesn't pay, you can always arrest another of his ships, when passing the canal in the future. 

Suez Canal is destroying their reputation by themselves. Many would consider alternative option after this, the fee is too high.

The ship owner Shoei Kisen has applied the International Convention on Limitation of Liability on the Ever Given, whereby it will aim to cap claims to a maximum of $115 million. Egypt is a party to this convention. I assume ship's underwriters can provide a bond to this amount as scurity, so that ship can be released to procees and damage claims studied in more detail and, if legal at all.

So what happened?

On Monday (26 April, 2021), the head of SCA Osama Rabie said that the ship's crew was not arrested (?), refuting media reports on the matter. Rabie ...

.. added that the authority had no objection to the crew's leaving or replacement, provided that an adequate percentage of sailors necessary to secure the ship is guaranteed, along with the continued presence of the ship's captain.

Rabie voiced his hopes that the ongoing negotiations with the owner of Ever Given and the insurance company to reach consensual solutions suitable for all parties will yield fruit soon.

He said that SCA was dealing with all the specific requirements of the negotiation (?) with complete flexibility (??), in full respect for international norms (???) in these sorts of situations (????).

Please, if, you arrest a ship, you cannot ask the non-arrested crew of the ship to look after the ship! You have to look after it yourself! Please, wake up!

More garbage from the Suez front 26 April 2021 was:

It is estimated that the costs to global trade was about $400 million per hour based on the approximate value of goods that are moved through the Suez every day, according to shipping data and news company Lloyd's List. For six days, the world watched as a multi-national team of salvors, tug operators and the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) coordinated a race against time to free the ship and unclog the canal.

Late news 22 May 2021 was from the court at Egypt. The ship owners simply said that they were told or forced to enter the canal by the Suez Canal Authority in spite of it not being safe due to the weather.

The owners said that the Suez Canal Authority is to blame for the ship's grounding. The vessel was wrongly instructed to enter the canal amid poor weather conditions.The ship's owner was seeking $100,000 in initial compensation for losses linked to its detainment. However, next day, Sunday 23 May 2021 the court rejected the claim.

And 18 June 2021 the ship is still detained in the Suez Canal!

Hm, did this really happen? World trade at $400 million/hour stopped by one little ship and saved by ... some Egyptian criminals? Race against time?? No! Be serious. Read on!

The interplay of factors which caused the ship to lodge itself against both banks of the canal is still the subject of investigations. Some reports suggest that the strong winds which are encountered along the canal pushed against the sizeable height of the ship. There are also reports of the pilot's contribution. In cases where the engagement of pilots are necessary (i.e. compulsory pilotage), the pilot acts as the agent of the ship, so any imputation of fault will reflect back on the ship owner.

No, today 18 June 2021 it is the fault of the Master of the ship! As usual. If anything goes wrong on any ship 2021 anywhere it is always the fault of the Master. Just blame him and lock him up. The world is saved!! Incl. the town of Suez that I have visited many times.

The stupid case thus goes on. My opinion is simple. Declare a Constructive Total Loss and abandon the ship!

 

The Master must stay! 

"The authority (?) is dealing with all the specific requirements of the negotiation (?) with complete flexibility, in full respect for international norms in these sorts of situations. However, the ship's captain needs to be present as the guardian of the vessel and its cargo."

Rabie said 27 April!

 

General Average

However, back in 1 April:

The owners of the Ever Given have declared General Average. The most often cited legal definition of “general average” is “all loss which arises in consequence of extraordinary sacrifices made or expenses incurred for the preservation of the ship and cargo losses within general average, and must be borne proportionately by all who are interested.”

Of course there are no losses of any ship or cargo, so you cannot declare general average. Ship and cargo are just arrested in Egypt by some criminals. A general average arises only when a sacrifice and expenditure is intentionally made by the ship's Master to save ship/cargo/freight in order to complete the voyage. You cannot declare GA, when pirates take over your ship! Then better call your Japan or Indian Navy!

If the ship's Japanese owner is informed about the details of various losses of the pirates, canal authority or world trade is not clear. The ship is bare boat chartered to a Taiwanese company Evergreen, that has paid the canal tolls/fees/pilot services, insurances, etc, and is technically operated by a German company using Indian crew of 25 (incl. 5 wives?) and they apparently cooperate with the Egyptian court in all respects The container cargo aboard is probably owned by 1.000s of different people of 50+ nationalities. None of these people are of course responsible for fantasy accusations by a strange, stupid, criminal canal authority.  

24 April 2021: It was suggested to me that all was just the fault of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) anyway! The canal should have simply been closed for some time due to bad weather and strong winds that were expected. But no! A strong, sudden gust or two pushed the ship one way, the helmsman or pilot tried to correct the course, etc. The ship got stuck! And it is now arrested by the SCA pirates since 13 April. I strongly recommend the crew to abandon the ship and join a passing ship in the canal. I explain more below! Keep it simple. Never play the games of pirates!

18 April 2021: The Egyptian Suez Canal Authority (SCA) denied media reports claiming that the investigations (?) of the grounding of the Panama-flagged ship Ever Given showed a technical error and another human error from the captain.

Egyptian newspaper Al Watan reported on Saturday 17 April that the accident of Ever Given in the Suez Canal was due to "a technical malfunction of the ship" beside a human error caused by the captain of the ship. Thus two causes!

But, in a statement SCA Spokesperson George Safwat affirmed that the authority denies such media remarks, adding that the investigations are still ongoing, in parallel with the negotiations (?) with the ship owner and the insurance company to reach an agreement (??) on the amount of compensation (???) that will be given to the authority for the moral and financial casualties (????) of the accident.

Just pay!!!!

It seems the investigations of several causes are not finished, so why negotiate anything?? Better await the facts reported below:

To resolve the little dispute in seconds is very simple for ship and cargo owners and explained here!

 

Cargo Stowage

But let's start with another little problem. Cargo stowage!

The ship carries ~10.000 off 40' containers (FEU) at 20 tons each, 10/8 high in stacks above/below deck. It was suggested 29 April 2021 that each FEU aboard is worth >USD$4 million! Imagine what fake news media publish! Anyway, the cargo is insured and best abandoned. SCA can sell it at an auction!

The captain and crew check every FEU before loading and that it is properly stored and secured on the ship. They trust the info provided by the cargo owners and services of stevedors. They cannot open the FEU and have a look. The ship just moves between hubs/ports in China and Europe, where FEUs are taken off and on by cranes on the quay and secured aboard. The wives keep every one in good mood. All is automatic.

If you don't check loading FEUs on deck, this happened to a similar, but badly built ship not long ago:

When that ship M/S ONE Apus rolled quickly at sea, all FEUs on deck shifted. Insurance still wonders why (answer to why is given below). It was not heavy weather!! This didn't happen to M/S Ever Given!

On the morning (23 March 2021) that ship had a little incident in the Suez Canal. It turned starboard and the bow contacted the eastern canal bank and wall and stopped.

Maybe the VLCS Ever Given grounding in the Suez Canal took place something like:

At 0.55 video time ship enters the canal at Suez with floating dry dock on port side and turns starboard. At 1.39 ship passes Suez port (graving dock seen on port side in the harbor). At 4.11 ship runs up on eastern canal bank and stops at 4.14. How video is made is not clear. Maybe wind pushed ship to port?

The aft end was free and looked like this from the western side:

This is the aftermost bay of 25 on deck, where 23 FEUs across are stacked 10 high and secured by lashing rods at level 5. Twistlocks between the FEUs ensure transverse movements will not occur.

No visible damages anywhere! Reason is that the above deck "lashing bridge" is one level higher and correctly reinforced against transverse deflections compared with ONE Apus, that was badly designed. Bottom 1 000's of twist locks sheared off and lashing rods snapped on ONE Apus when rolling a little!

From the ship behind in the canal Ever Given looked like this:

Note that the ship trims on the stern after running up on the shallow canal bottom on the Sinai side. All 5 500+ FEUs on deck remained in place! And the aft end with rudder and propeller of Ever Given is clear of the left canal side. The bow at the right side is above some digging machine on the ground. The ship has a clear stern trim of > 8 m after touching bottom forward running up a sloping bank. The photo was taken from the ship behind in the convoy that just stopped and drifted on to the western side.

 

Sabotage - Mines

A stupid accident! No sabotage! By terrorists? Real terrorists would have sunk a smaller ship using explosives or just put some mines in the canal to stop the traffic! No, it was just a stupid accident. Nobody was hurt. No cargo was lost! No panic!

But the solution is simple.

The LOSER IS EGYPT!

The ship owner or the bare boat charterer is insured against all perils of the sea by the Hull and Machinery (H&M) insurance policy, incl.: "Men of War, Fire, Lighting, Earthquakes, Enemies, Pirates, Rovers, Assailing Thieves, Jettisons, Letters of Mart and Counter-Mart, Taking at Sea, Arrests, Restraints and Detainments of all Kings, Princes and People of what nation, condition of quality soever, Barratry of the Master and Mariners and of all other like Perils, Letters and Misfortunes that have or shall come to the Hurt, Detriment of Damage of the Vessel or any part thereof", excepting however such of the foregoing Perils as may be excluded by provisions elsewhere in the (insurance) Policy or by endorsement thereon.

Liability for damages to "any dock, pier, jetty, bridge, harbor, breakwater, structure, beacon, buoy, light house, cable, or to any fixed or movabable object or property whatsoever except another vessel", etc, is covered by the Protection and Indemnity (P&I) insurance of the owner that all ships have. The UK P&I Club has revealed it has already made a compensation offer to the SCA this week, which has been rejected.

The ship is thus since 13 April 2021 illegally or wrongfully arrested in the Suez Canal by its Canal Authority and asked to pay about USD 916.000.000:- for having blocked the Canal during a week. Plenty money!

But nobody has lost anything but time/delays due to an accident and after a week the canal was open and running again. And if you were insured against loss of time and associated income, you hadn't lost anything.

“An appeal against the arrest has been made on several grounds, including the validity of the arrest obtained in respect of the cargo and the lack of supporting evidence for the (Suez Canal Authority’s) very significant claim!”

the UK Club, the Ever Given’s protection & indemnity (P&I) insurer, has said. The move is necessary as it had not been possible to resolve the issue without continued involvement of the Egyptian courts. The case may be heard 4 May 2021! Better is to abandon the ship and declare ...

 

Constructive Total Loss

As the Owner/charterer and its poor, Indian Master of the arrested ship cannot pay damages >7X the value of the ship and no money aboard, I recommend that the Owner and Master of the ship to simply abandon it using a life boat and declare the ship a Constructive Total Loss and notify and collect from H&M underwriters. Then Owner does not lose anyting!

It is easy! Just board the lifeboat! Launch it and sail to any ship passing and ask to be taken aboard. Explain that your ship has been taken over by pirates! There is no reason for any Master and crew to remain aboard a ship taken over by pirates. Abandon! Seek refuge on any ship in the vicinity!

The owners must then give notice of abandonment of ship and cargo to underwriters after reliable information of the loss and that the crew has left. Of course underwriters always decline to accept abandonment, when it is tendered to them, in a canal! Then the lawyers take over. In the meantime the owner and the Master must continue to exercise best, reasonable efforts and due diligence to save and preserve the property insured, and the Suez Canal people must allow the Master and crew to survive, and so on. Maybe the Canal will suggest that the ship was 400.01 m long and thus too long for the canal? But the Master & Co. have left.

I also recommend that the owners of the 10 000 FEUs cargo declare the cargo lost to collect from cargo underwriters. Then the cargo owners lose nothing. The Master and Crew should thus abandon the ship using life boats and ask to be picked up by some passing ship and brought to safety. No reason to stay and argue with complete criminal Egyptian idiots! Let insurances pay you and let re-insurance pay the whole thing.  

Responsible parties ashore cannot ever abandon their crew aboard. Only uncivilized countries take crew ransom!

The Charterer Evergreen hasn't lost anything. They will from now on divert their loaded ships away from the Suez Canal to keep their cargo clients happy. The extra cost of fuel and time is paid for not paying canal tolls. Only loser is the SCA!

Some quotes of the SCA chairman:

"We've achieved one of the world's biggest salvage operations under difficult and complicated circumstances ... in only six days."

"The case that we had was complicated and non-traditional, so there should have been a non-traditional solution."

"We are discussing with the owners a peaceful resolution to the matter without resorting to the judiciary."

"Bringing the case before a court would be more harmful to the company than settling with the canal's management."

"This is the right of the country. The incident hurt Egypt's reputation. This country should get its due."

"The ship and its cargo were worth $3.5bn."

"The ship and cargo could be held in Egypt if the matter of compensation went to court. But such a scenario is unlikely because Egypt has a long relationship with the ship's owner."

Etc! But not a word about the crew! 

 

Listen!

In the morning of 23 March 2021 M/S Ever Given joined the north bound convoy to pass the Suez Canal from Suez to Port Said with an Egyptian pilot aboard. It had been done many times before. I have personally been to Suez many times 1980-2007. The ship owner just pays the Egyptian Suez Canal Co. dues/tolls for it and shuts up. It is US$ 450.000:- or about $45:- per container carried through the canal. The fee is based on amount of cargo/FEUs carried. Then the canal pilot and his escort must also have some cartons of real Marlboro cigarettes too to be happy. Innocent corruption as usual. Since >50 years. False, Egyptian made Marlboros are not accepted! It must be US made ones.

The canal is just dug into the rocky sand stone crust of the Sinai desert covered by a layer of sand. It is fantastic! The cross section of the canal looks something like:

The canal is today about 25 m deep. The western side is quite steep while the eastern bank is sloping. As long as you stay inside the red buoys on the west side and green remote from shore buoys on the east side, you are alright. 1 000's of ships do ite every year. However Ever Given went on the wrong side of the green buoy at KM 151.00, maybe the ship's captain, canal pilot and ship's helmsman on the bridge were blinded by a sudden sandstorm (?) ... or what ever ... (snow storm?) ...

 

 ... touched the east canal bottom and went several meters up on and aground on the eastern, slooping bank at the side.

Normal speed in the Suez Canal is 8-9 knots! But when the mv Ever Given entered the canal it speed up >50%!

According ship’s Voyage Data Recorder speed in knots was 12.9 (!!) - at lower pair of buoys, near ‘12MT’, 12.9 - at centre pair of buoys, near ‘KM 152’, 13.0 - just above of ’KM 152.000’, 13.0 - next point, 12.8 - near ‘ 12MT’, 12.5 - between buoy pair south of grounding, 08.8 - just right of green buoy at grounding site. Do your own calculations of momentum/energy damaging the ship's structure during the contact! The speed 12.9 knots is about 24 kms/hr or 6.6 m/s. Like most cyclists do. Most potential energy was used to lift up the bow on the canal bank while pushing it north, so the ship stopped after moving 50 m east and 50 m north. Most ship steel bottom hull plate was just elastically deformed vertically during this sideways contact. The friction between ship and canal bank was small due to plenty sand stone rubble on the canal bottom. Only the rubble was crushed into sand! No serious structural damages to the ship! Just 45° paint scratches. The ship just got stuck! Act of God!

However Bloomberg reported (fake news!) that the Ever Given was travelling faster than the speed limit (?) of the Suez Canal before getting stuck. Initial investigations (?) then (more fake news) suggested the ship became beached (?) due to high winds and ruled out any mechanical or engine failures. Later high winds have also been ruled out. So what went wrong the last 900 m passage during 135 seconds? Why wasn't the course adjusted to port a little at the 12 MT point to continue straight forward or speed reduced? Plenty time to do so! We don't know!

At incident time and position, weather was sunny as usual in Egypt in March with southerly wind 20/22 knots. Sandstorm? The forecasts for the morning of March 23, for the Canal near Suez, gave Southerly winds of 20/22 knots and a medium sand dust in the air, enough to make a milky sky, but not a sandstorm. Nobody saw a sandstorm. Temperature was around 12°C! No ice in the canal! No Exxon Valdez.

 

Ship turns starboard

Why the ship at high speed turned starboard is also not clear. The ship ended up blocking the canal like this, with plenty tugs offering services: 

 

 The owner of Ever Given didn't use these small, weak harbour mooring tugs!

You can see the holes dredged/cut in the eastern canal bank bottom. They are part of expanding the canal.

It was a very soft contact ship/canal bottom/side.

The ships in the canal behind Ever Given stopped and were towed (6 kms) back to Suez anchorage. The southbound convoy was stopped at the Great Bitter Lake. The canal was then closed and all ships in transit had to wait for a week.

But wait! Rich Japanese ship owner!! Rich Taiwanese charterer!! Half a million $$ had already been paid to pass! The cost of blocking shipping for almost a week through one of the most crucial waterways on earth apparently comes in at around $1 billion, we are told by experts! 2.000 times more than the normald fee! 10.000 containers on one ship blocked the canal and each container owner must now pay $100.000:- to get his container. They can afford it.

That's the bill Egypt will try to stupidly collect April 2021. And it does not even include damages (?) for the owners of more than 400 boats delayed by the calamity on the Suez Canal, nor compensation that could be sought by companies whose materials or products were on those boats and so on? Amazing! No, no! There is even more money to collect: $2 billion, we are told. Lawyers' fees, bla, bla. But back to basics.

 

Trim changes when ship runs up on a bank

When running up sideways on the shallow eastern side of the canal the ship's drafts and trim of course changed!

The ship's forward draft was reduced from 15 m to 11 m, the trim on the stern became about 8 m. On the picture above 11 m of ship hull fwd (or what is left of it) is below the water just off the edge of the canal. The stern draft became about 19 m, i.e. still above the canal bottom at 25 m. Do you see any steel structural damages of the ship above water? Or below water?

Digging out the top soil/sand on the eastern bank wouldn't help much. >50 m of ship's fwd, flat bottom, 11 m below water was probably in contact with the sloping canal bank at this time.

I wonder why they lowered the starboard anchor. Maybe some Egyptian canal official told them to anchor!?! 

The ship was just contacting the soft canal shore sloping sand bank at the side awaiting an opportunity to back off.

27 000 m3 of sand on the canal bottom was in the meantime dug away by the SCA in a couple of days! Of course digging away sand from shore or a barge didn't help. It just showed that the canal bottom was soft and dampened the contact. Sand was just pushed aside!

 

Change trim and back off


Anyway, it was not the first time in history that a ship got stuck on a soft sea floor in very protected waters and you don't need as 'salvage' company, to assist and by

(A) pulling, after taking soundings, the stern away from the western, deep side into the deep canal centre using two strong tugs Carlo Magno and ALP Guard paid for by (insurance of) Ever Given, and

(B) ballasting the stern end double bottom and void side tanks, the stern trim increased to say 12 m, fwd draft was reduced to 6-7 m and aft draft increased to 19 m and the bow was lifted off the eastern canal sand slope, and

(C) using ship's own engine power and same pulling tugs the ship could 29 March back off the eastern canal slope and become free and afloat again (it didn't cost the Suez Canal company an Egyptian £!!).

(D) using divers you should then immediately check, what the ship fwd underwater hull looked like (it was undamaged), and, if parts of the ship remained in the canal (none found!).

Easy job, if you know what to do. But US$ 1 billion damages (?) had been caused according strange Egyptian experts. Or 2 billion according lawyers.

The vessel then proceeded under own power to the Great Bitter Lake anchorage for more external and internal inspections of structural damages, information of which has not been published (4 April 2021) but it seems the ship is completely undamaged. The canal itself was hardly damaged at all and only delays were caused. Nobody was hurt. And after some further thought I doubt that the ship's structure is damaged at all. Just some paint scratched off. But it will cost US$ 1 or 2 billion. Why not? Crazy world!

It would have been much better to tow the ship 10 kms back to Suez anchorage with a shipyard nearby for inspection and repairs but for mysterious reasons it was not done.


Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), article 94 on Duties of the flag State, paragraph 7:

"Each State shall cause an inquiry to be held by or before a suitably qualified person or persons into every marine casualty or incident of navigation on the high seas involving a ship flying its flag and causing loss of life or serious injury to nationals of another State or serious damage to ships or installations of another State or to the marine environment. The flag State and the other State shall cooperate in the conduct of any inquiry held by that other State into any such marine casualty or incident of navigation".

It seems this case was not an incident at all - no loss of life, no injury and no damages to a ship or installations or environment. There is no need to arrest crew and ship. But as it was done, it has become a stupid Egyptian show of corrupt ignorance.

My friend Captain Ahmed Hamdi was running the Suez Canal south section >50 years ago. We used to visit the Egyptian maritime safety authorities at Alexandria together to clarify the rules in the 1980's, when we operated an Egyptian flag vessel together. Arabic is a poetic language not ready for maritime regulations or litigation.

 

When in trouble due to wind and sand - slow down and stop

Heiwaco's advice, free of charge to any one passing the Suez Canal and encountering a sand storm, is simple: Just slow down and stop. Do not discuss. Your ship will just drift against the canal side. It happened to my ship once. After the storm has passed and you can see the canal again, just start again and speed up between the buoys. Hand out plenty, real Marlboro cartons. No damage done. No $1 billion fine to pay.

But do not forget the Al Salam 98 incident back in 2007. Then we were all arrested and jailed. Except me. I was inspecting another ship at Equatorial Guinea of all places. And Captain Hamdi died at home a little earlier and never had to witness the mess his old Suez Canal colleagues have caused.

On 7 April 2021 M/S Ever Given was, in good, sunny weather (28°C, wind <2 m/s), anchored, still floating at 15.7 m draft, even keel with no list/trim in the Bitter Lake (above) but cannot leave Egypt. A friend of mine has a summer house there at the Bitter Lake. Some Egyptian divers better not mentioned had carefully inspected the hull below water of this very big ship in a couple of hours some days earlier. How they did it, nobody knows. No cameras, no pictures. A new, assistant Master arrived 4 April to help. ABS, the classification society and its surveyor have apparently inspected the ship. No serious, structural damages were found, I am told. Or there was an indent and a little crack in the fore peak, that is easy to fix with a cement box. ABS thought the ship could proceed to Port Said (and leave Egypt). But of course the ship cannot proceed to Port Said anchorage, from which it can easily slip away. No, it must stay in the Great Bitter Lake and a ransom be paid!

 

Indian (married) Masters are not rich

I know for a fact that the Indian captain cannot pay USD 1 billion to continue the voyage. He is just an employé. He and the ship doesn't carry such cash aboard. Better is then of course to simply abandon the ship with a lifeboat and go home! What a fucking stupid incident. Suez Canal authority and media clowns create a small incident into a world shattering event, bla, bla, bla.

MSM continues to publish garbage about it.

Wikipedia has of course a complete different, fake news story of above as usual, incl. this:

Ever Given was 29 March partially (?) re-floated and moved by about 80% in the correct direction, although the bow remained stuck until the ship was finally freed by Egyptian, Dutch, and Italian tugs at 15:05 EGY (13:05 UTC) and started moving, under tow (??), towards the Great Bitter Lake, for technical inspection. The canal was checked for damage, and after being found to be sound, the SCA allowed shipping to resume from 19:00 EGY (17:00 UTC).

OK, the Canal was found to be sound and 80% of Ever Given went under own power to the Great Bitter Lake and shipping was allowed to be resumed. And then Ever Given, or 80% of it, was found to be sound. ... But wasn't 20% stuck? And then 100% of the ship was arrested and USD$1 billion requested ...

Anyway, as ship and cargo owners are insured and will be paid, best is just to hand over everything (ship and cargo) else to the Egyptians to sell it off to Suez scrap dealers. Master and crew? I wish them luck! Swim ashore and hitch a ride with a passing ship!

 

However!

The Suez Canal chief said on Tuesday (Apr 6, 2021) that authorities are negotiating (?) a financial settlement with the owners of the vessel that blocked the crucial waterway for nearly a week.

Lieutenant General Osama Rabie told the Associated Press he hoped talks with Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the Japanese owner of the Ever Given, will conclude without a lawsuit.

"We are discussing with them a peaceful resolution to the matter without resorting to the judiciary,"

he said. He maintained that bringing the case before a court would be more harmful to the firm than settling with the canal's management.

The canal chief Lieutenant General Osama Rabie also said that the Suez Canal Authority was expecting more than US$1 billion in compensation, warning the ship would not be allowed to leave the canal, if the issue of damages (?) turns into a legal dispute.

That amount takes into account the salvage operation, costs of stalled traffic and lost transit fees for the week that the Ever Given blocked the canal. He did not specify then who would be responsible for paying the compensation.

Bla, bla, bla! He sounds like a fool! It is a scandal that such a person is allowed to wrongfully arrest the ship and cargo and to take the crew hostage and that the marine industry doesn't protest!

Actually the salvage operation was paid for by ship's insurance and there are little lost transit fees as most ships just waited 6-7 days after already having paid the fees. But Rabie doesn't give up (9 april):

The authorities have made it clear that they won't release the ship or its crew until the shipowner pays the compensation (?) and the investigation gets over.

"The vessel will remain here until investigations are complete and compensation (?) is paid," said Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority.

"We hope for a speedy agreement. The minute they agree to compensation (?), the vessel will be allowed to move", Rabie added. (Source)

Sounds like threats to me. But it seems Rabie was finally calming down (12 April) - let's blame the Captain!

The chairman Rabie of the Suez Canal Authority has suggested a possible mistake (?) by the captain of the container ship as the reason why the massive vessel became stuck in the vital international waterway in late March. Rabie also dismissed strong winds as the main reason for the incident.

“Maybe the captain made a mistake in a specific (operation) request, such as the rudder or speed, which could have led to that,” Osama Rabie said in a recent interview, in reference to the skipper of the 400-meter-long, 220,000-ton Ever Given. As if he had been there. An obvious matter of framing captain Scapegoat.

Even though a Suez Canal Authority guide was aboard the Ever Given, Rabie said the authority bears no responsibility for the incident, which he has estimated could incur more than $1 billion in damages.

I wonder what damages he is talking about, when you bear no responsibility? And no ship master is trained to navigate in canals without pilots provided by the canal.

And let's not forget the cargo! 10 000 FEUs. Social media is full of rumors/bullshit/fake news etc, that the FEUs are full of dead smuggled children, equipment and medical things to destroy the world, bla, bla, bla, etc, etc. All the fault of the Captain of course!

 

Abandon or arbitration

So, best is to abandon the ship and cargo and let underwriters pay. Or why not try old fashioned arbitration in London? Heard about it? Lieutenant General Osama Rabie can of course sell the ship to Suez scrap dealers any time.

Other owners should ignore the Suez Canal all together before the risk of illegal arrest in the Canal is eliminated.

MV Aman is in similar situation since 2017! One officer held for >4 years.

In the meantime the famous Ismialia economic court of law in Egypt has 13 April reduced the payment to only $916 million! The captain must deliver the money by lifeboat! The captain's fault has cost 1 billion damage to global trade and he must be punished! Imagine that!

On 13 April CNN reported that one of Ever Given's P&I (third party) insurers said that it had responded to a claim from the SCA for $916 million, and questioned its basis:

"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. The SCA has not provided a detailed justification for this extraordinarily large claim, which includes a $300 million claim for a 'salvage bonus' and a $300 million claim for 'loss of reputation.' 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 claim presented by the SCA also does not include the professional salvor's claim for their salvage services, which owners and their hull underwriters expect to receive separately."

The strange case goes on! Why does a P&I club negotiate with SCA about an illegally arrested ship? SCA has no right to arrest ships at all!

On 13 April 2021 SCA announced that the ship had been seized (?) on court orders until the owners paid $916 million dollars. I wonder what court that is. The one in Ismailia? But it cannot arrest ships in the Suez Canal! It can only hand out parking tickets at Ismailia, that nobody pays anyway. Free passage in the canal is guaranteed after paying the tolls, etc.  

However, the SCA requested $300 million for "loss of reputation", another $300 million for a "salvage bonus" and $316 million for loss of income! Furthermore the vessel's crew is stranded on board and is denied permission to disembark for a crew change or for shore leave. Tough times.

The charter Evergreen of the ship is in the meantime looking at the "prospect of moving the containers to other ships and delivering them to the clients in Europe." Why don't they listen to me? Abandon the ship and cargo! You are insured! Don't talk nonsense with idiots!!

On 14 April 2021 the technical manager of Ever Given, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) (Ian Beveridge, CEO of BSM), confirmed that extensive inspections from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), the vessel’s classification society, which included underwater inspections have been concluded. He added:

“The SCA’s decision to arrest the vessel is extremely disappointing. From the outset, BSM and the crew on board have cooperated fully with all authorities, including the SCA and their respective investigations into the grounding.”

I was 15 April 2021 very disappointed that the Japanese owner simply didn't abandon the ship and collects from insurance. An alternative solution, e.g, to ask the Japanese Navy to send a team to take over the ship at the Great Bitter Lake and sail it back to Suez and Japan is too complicated. But why not sue the Suez Canal Authority for illegal arrest of the ship? It should teach the SCA a lesson!

On 16 April 2021 the ship was still illegally arrested in the Bitter Lake. Now India starts to get upset. 25 of their citzens incl. 5 (?) wives of officers aboard are denied permission to disembark and are held up in Egypt and cannot get home. They have become a hostage! Indian Navy is nearby. Why not block Suez? You don't argue with the wife of an Indian merchant marine officer who wants her husband become Master. Best is of course to allow the ship to sail away! Why is it so difficult to understand?

But on 26 April 2021 the ship is still in the Bitter Lake. Only solution, IMHO, is to abandon it! I have been to Egypt many times and paying a little bakshish always helped and solved many problems. But a billion dollar!!! Cash! No lifeboat can carry it.

 

Just sail away

On the other hand, if I were the owner and really bold, I would just order the Master to lift the anchor, start the engine and slip into the north bound convoy passing every afternoon around 2 pm and blow the horn passing Port Said and SCA HQ ... and freedom some hours later. I have actually told my ships twice to escape illegal arrests that way from corrupt ports. Just sail away!

 

Insurance surcharge

Another solution is that hull underwriters and re-insurance anywhere add a surcharge of 1M to the premium for insurance of risk to any ship passing the Suez Canal.

 

Why use the Suez Canal?

The route between Far East and Europe is about 3,300 nautical miles longer via the Cape of Good Hope than via the Suez Canal. With an optimal (slow) speed of say 12 knots, the extra time for a Good Hope trip is 12 days and extra fuel may be, say, 600 tons. If the Canal fee is $492.000, is it worth $41.000/day extra sailing (excluding fuel)? It depends on your own costs! It seems the container trade FE/Europe is today a cartel charging very high rates, so an outsider should have a chance!

Anyway, 14 June 2021 the ship is still arrested in the Suez Canal. And nobody has since 23 March 2021 explained why the ship suddenly increased its speed >50% from 8 to 13 knots during a few minutes, when entering the Canal, and turned starboard to ram the canal side after less than 5 minutes. Everything happens at sea, but this stupid incident in the Suez Canal is the worst I have seen! Ever. I wonder how it will end.

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