Egyptian authorities and parties representing Ever Given, the ultra-large container ship that grounded in the Suez Canal and caused disruption to shipping traffic through the global shipping artery, have reached a final agreement and Ever Given has left its impoundment in Great Bitter Lake
7 July 2021
A statement from shipowners Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd confirmed Ever Given and its crew have been released from arrest in Egyptian waters adjoining the Suez Canal.
"Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd are pleased to confirm that, following the conclusion of a formal agreement with the Suez Canal Authority, the vessel and its crew have departed Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal," the statement said.
According to the shipowner, Ever Given will stop in Port Said, Egypt, for a dive survey of the vessel. Subject to approval by the vessel’s classification society, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), the ship will head to its final port of call to discharge its goods.
In total, the vessel spent more than 100 days within the confines of the Suez Canal and Great Bitter Lake. Its grounding on 23 March required some six days of concerted efforts from an international group of salvors on land and in the water, working to free the vessel from where it had wedged diagonally across the canal. Ship traffic through the waterway came to a standstill and delays and backlogs persisted for weeks after the vessel had been moved to its anchorage.
Negotiations for the vessel’s release were protracted and occasionally played out through reports and statements regarding the cause of the vessel’s grounding.
Mutual Insurer UK P&I Club released a statement thanking a long list of individuals and organisations which had contributed to securing the vessel’s release.
"From the outset the UK Club, together with the ship’s owners and other insurers, has been focused on reaching a fair and amicable settlement with the SCA that would allow the ship, its crew and cargo to resume their voyage. After more than three months of negotiations we are pleased that an agreement was reached which has allowed the ship to leave the Suez Canal," the statement said.
Along with UK’s P&I Club, the ship’s technical managers, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement thanked the vessel’s crew in a statement.
“We are very pleased Ever Given can finally continue its voyage. BSM would like to take this opportunity to thank the Master and crew for their resilience and professionalism throughout this period,” a quote attributed to BSM chief executive Ian Beveridge said.
Shoei Kisen Kaisha said the experience had "strengthened" its relationship with the Suez Canal Authority and the shipowner would continue to transit the canal with its fleet of vessels.
"We are a regular and committed customer of the Suez Canal, and we would like to place on record our thanks to the Suez Canal Authority and others who worked tirelessly to release the ship as swiftly as possible when it ran aground over three months ago. We are also pleased that our company’s excellent relationship with the Suez Canal Authority has been maintained and even strengthened through this experience. Our company has a large fleet of ships and will continue to be a regular and loyal customer of the Suez Canal."
5 July 2021
Mutual insurer UK P&I Club, who have been involved with the negotiations to secure release of the arrested Ever Given container ship, have announced the vessel will be freed after a formal agreement was reached on 4 July.
"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," a statement from the group said.
As yet, no statements have been forthcoming from shipowners Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the vessel owners, shipmanagers Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement or charterers Evergreen Lines.
24 June 2021
Mutual insurer UK P&I Club, who have been involved with the negotiations to secure release of the arrested Ever Given container ship, have said that the vessel’s owners, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd and Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) have reached an agreement in principle on the monetary sum needed to secure the release of the vessel from Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, where it has been impounded since being freed from its position in the neighbouring Suez Canal, where it blocked transit of vessels for nearly a week in March 2021.
A statement on UK P&I Club’s website said "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."
No statement has been forthcoming on the matter from either Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd or the SCA, but the vessel’s charterers, Evergreen Marine Corporation released a confimatory statement advising those with cargo on board to post security bonds to avoid delay once the vessel arrives in a port of discharge.
"Further to the arrest of Ever Given in Egypt and negotiations between the shipowner and the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Evergreen Line is pleased to confirm the acknowledgement from the shipowner that an agreement in principle has been reached in respect of the SCA’s claims, and a final formal settlement agreement is currently under negotiation. It may take some further time for the agreement to be concluded, for the vessel to be released from arrest and prepared for onward transit. In the meanwhile, we wish to advise cargo interests who have yet to provide a General Average security bond to expedite this process to avoid further delay in cargo release and delivery at the port of discharge."
14 April 2021
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), shipmanagers of the ultra large container ship (ULCS) Ever Given, which grounded in March and tied up traffic on the global shipping artery for days, have said the 20,000-TEU vessel is now being held by Egypt’s state-run Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
Noting that the vessel had passed inspections and been declared seaworthy, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said Ever Given would remain in place until further notice.
"BSM has been informed by the vessel’s owner that the SCA began arrest procedures against the vessel. Currently, the vessel remains anchored in Great Bitter Lake until an agreement between the SCA and the vessel’s owner has been reached," the shipmanager said.
BSM called the decision "extremely disappointing" given their co-operation with investigations into the cause of the incident that left Ever Given wedged diagonally across the canal and caused a backlog of hundreds of ships on both sides of the canal, with projected costs of the blockage running to billions of dollars per day for global trade and costing Egyptian coffers tens of millions of dollars from lost revenue and fees associated with the vessel’s rescue.
“From the outset, BSM and the crew on board have co-operated fully with all authorities, including the SCA and their respective investigations into the grounding. This included granting access to the voyage data recorder and other materials and data requested by the SCA. BSM’s primary goal is a swift resolution to this matter that will allow the vessel and crew to depart the Suez Canal,” BSM chief executive Ian Beveridge said.
BSM said initial investigations have ruled out mechanical and engine failure as the cause of the grounding. Speculation at the time of the incident implicated strong winds from a dust storm as part of the reason the vessel drifted off course, but Egyptian authorities later said human error could also be to blame. Local pilots are on board to guide each ship’s transit of the canal, and ships’ crews execute the navigational manoeuvres required to keep the vessel afloat. Hydrodynamics, too, are complicated as enormous vessels transit relatively narrow and shallow waterways such as the Suez Canal. See below for more coverage from the complex ship grounding that caught the world’s attention.
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