As there are now expectations of a quick easing of congestion, AP Moller-Maersk has begun rediverting ships back to the Suez Canal. After Monday's refloating of the grounded containership Ever Given, traffic has started flowing again. Some 37 vessels from the Great Bitter Lake have already exited the Suez Canal and 76 are scheduled to transit on Tuesday.
According to tradewindsnews.com, 163 vessels are awaiting transit in Suez, 137 in Port Said and 6 at the Great Bitter Lake. At the peak of the blockage, more than 370 vessels were waiting to transit. Maersk is the first liner company to divert ships back to the Suez after the refloating.
Still unclear when Ever Given will enter Port of Rotterdam
It is still unclear when the container ship Ever Given will enter the port of Rotterdam. The ship is currently being examined for damage and seaworthiness. A spokesperson for the Port of Rotterdam Authority said it remains to be seen when the ship will arrive.
As explained on swzmaritime.nl, the sailing time between the Suez Canal and Rotterdam can vary from over a week to more than two weeks, depending on, among other things, the speed of the ship. At the ECT container terminal in Rotterdam, preparations are being made for the influx of ships from the Suez Canal.
The Ever Given is still at anchor on the Great Bitter Lake. Contrary to what Evergreen reported after the beaching, the front of the ship is damaged, but probably not to the extent that it cannot sail under its own power. Experts assume that the Suez Canal Authority has detained the ship and that it will not be allowed to leave until the shipping company has provided sufficient bank guarantees. This is usual practice in this kind of situation. It assures the port or waterway authority that all costs incurred will be reimbursed and that future claims can be successfully recovered from the shipowner.
Shipping Authority concerned about legal actions
A recent report stated that German Company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), which manages the Panama-registered Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha-owned vessel, said: “The crew was safe and in good health. Their hard work and tireless professionalism are greatly appreciated.”
However, both the Indian government and the seafarers’ organizations are concerned about the legal issues that the crew may face, including the possibility of criminal charges. One report quoted sources saying that they could be placed under house arrest until an investigation into the cause of the accident is completed. The ship management, however, has not explained anything about the legal procedures the crew will have to go through. There are fears that the crew will be made scapegoats.
According to news18.com, an investigation will be conducted on this vessel, like a fact-finding inquiry. The report is normally submitted by the flag state.
Maharashtra grape growers worried about impact on their exports
Grape exporters in western Maharashtra are currently trying to assess the impacts on their exports to Europe in the season’s peak. Every year, the two months between February 15 to April first week are considered as the peak export season to Europe and exporters mainly from Nashik area of North Maharashtra supply the grapes.
Hindustantimes.com reported that, Because of the blockage in the Suez Canal for almost a week, exporters fear supply of the grapes in European market may partially be hit adversely affecting rates in the countries looking to import Maharashtra grapes.
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