Although it has been several weeks since container ship ‘Ever Given’ ran aground in the Suez Canal, the troubles might just be beginning for the 26 Indian nationals on board that make up her crew. Egyptian authorities have impounded the ship as the state-owned Suez Canal Authority (SCA) demand a staggering $916 million in damages from Japanese owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd.
The crew is effectively stuck on board the ship currently moored in an artificial lake along the Suez. They now find themselves the victims of a legal dispute between Egyptian authorities and the Ever Given's owners and operators.
With the company opting to fight against the lawsuit, it remains unclear when exactly the ship's crew will be permitted to disembark. Expressing concern over the fate of the crew, Abdulgani Serang, head of the National Union of Seafarers of India stated: “These are professionals who had nothing to do with this incident and should not be held to ransom.”
The Suez Canal Authority is demanding the $916 million (€761 mln) recompense for last month's six-day snarl of world shipping, but on Friday the insurer of the Egyptian-impounded Ever Given said it had filed an appeal and again implied costs were exaggerated.
London-based maritime insurer UK P&I called for a "fair and swift resolution" of the SCA's claim to enable the vessel to continue on her intended voyage and the crew to leave Egypt." Last week, the insurer asserted the SCA bill before an Egyptian court at Ismailia, close to canal network's Great Bitter Lake, where the megaship remains, was "largely unsupported."
Dw.com reported that on Friday, news came out that the appeal at Ismailia's court would be heard on May 4.