The ship owner says the Suez Canal was to blame for Ever Given Grounding: lawyer

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Stranded container ship Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, after it ran aground on March 26th. SCA / via REUTERS / File Photo

CAIRO (Reuters) – The owner of a container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March said the canal authority was to blame for her grounding as it denies the ship’s detention and claims for damages, a lawyer representing the owner said Saturday.

The Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, was stowed across the canal in strong winds on March 23 and remained on the ground for six days, blocking traffic in both directions and disrupting world trade.

The ship has since been held in a lake between two sections of the canal when the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) pursued a $ 916.5 million claim against Japanese owner Shoei Kisen.

An appeals chamber at the Ismailia Commercial Court held hearings on Saturday about the ship’s detention, which the SCA is trying to maintain after an appeal by the owner and the SCA’s financial claim.

Lawyers representing Shoei Kisen argued that the SCA was to blame for allowing the ship to enter the waterway in bad weather, Ahmed Abu Ali, a member of the legal team, told Reuters, adding that the agency made no mistake of the Can prove the ship.

Records of the ship presented to the court revealed disagreements between SCA pilots and its control center over whether it should enter the canal, Abu Ali said.

Shoei Kisen lawyers said the ship should have been escorted by at least two tugs suitable for the ship size, “but that didn’t happen,” he added.

The SCA did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but has publicly denied it was to blame.

Shoei Kisen’s attorneys also argued that Ever Given’s detention was legally flawed and that the work to clear the ship was not a “salvage (operation) in the strictest legal sense,” which meant that the SCA did not provide compensation for such an operation could ask for Abu Said Ali.

“This was one of the duties of the agency under the transport contract,” he said.

Shoei Kisen is seeking initial compensation of $ 100,000 for losses related to his incarceration, he said.

The court should make a decision on the case on Sunday, lawyers and witnesses said.

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