An Egyptian court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by the Japanese owner of the Ever Given to release the container ship which blocked the Suez Canal in March.
he grounding of the 400-meter-long ship Ever Given in the southern section of the Suez Canal on March 23 blocked the waterway for nearly a week, causing a major disruption in global trade flows as it prevented hundreds of ships from passing the world’s major shipping trade route, before it was finally freed six days later.
Currently anchored in a lake between two sections of the canal, the ship is now caught in a legal dispute of over a $916 million claim by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) against Japanese owner Shoei Kisen for compensation over the incident. Almost all of the crew members remain onboard and are in good condition, with unions vowing for their release. In April, the Authority confirmed that two crew members of the Ever Given would be allowed to return to India due to urgent personal reasons.
Last month, the vessel’s owner filed an appeal before the Ismailia court against Egypt’s decision to seize the vessel and its cargo, but the court upheld its former decision on the ship’s detention Tuesday, rejecting the appeal. Meanwhile, the order specified that the cargo cannot be unloaded for transfer to another vessel, according to Evergreen.
The reasoning for the ruling was not immediately clear, but the SCA argued that the plaintiff had not notified all the required parties of its challenge to the ship’s detention within the required time limit, Reuters reported.
The ship’s protection and indemnity insurer, UK Club, said the owners were reviewing their options in light of the decision and had until May 20 to appeal.
UK Club said last month the appeal 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”.
An investigation into the incident is still underway.