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The dispute over who should pay for the losses from the blockade of the Suez Canal

As divers scrutinize Ever Given’s hull to see if it can continue to navigate, they begin to question who should pay for the losses incurred during the blockade of the Suez Canal.

“The damage and losses and how much the dredging machines have consumed will be calculated. The estimate will reach US $ 1,000 or perhaps a little more. It is a right that Egypt has,” he said Wednesday. Osama Rabie, president of the Suez Canal Authority (ACS), without specifying who should pay that money or whether Egypt has already claimed compensation.

That figure would be calculated based on the lost transit fees, the damage to the waterway during the drainage, the efforts to refloat the freighter and the costs for equipment and material.

Rabie said on Egyptian television that the incident damaged Egypt’s reputation. “The country should get what it deserves“he added.

Investigators began their work on Wednesday by gaining access to the Ever Given, which once it was re-floated on Monday is now in the area of ​​the Great Bitter Lake, a wider area of ​​the canal where it can stand without interrupting the passage.

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The 400-meter-long ship was stranded diagonally in the Suez Canal on March 23 for nearly a week, causing the blockade of one of the world’s main commercial sea routes.

The initial cause was attributed to strong winds, but now researchers want to check if there was any technical or human error.

Who pays?

And the cause is important in the face of impending legal action for compensation and determining who should pay for the delays.

Rabie believes there were technical and human errors and does not consider the wind to be the main reason.

“The channel has never been closed due to bad weather,” he said Monday. And he also denied that the enormous size of the ship was the cause, since “even larger freighters” cross the track.

Rabie also ruled out that the two channel pilots who were aboard Ever Given to guide them are not responsible. “They have a high level and are highly competent,” he defended.

Shoei Kisen, the Japanese firm that owns the Ever Given, said it had not received any legal claim or lawsuit for the blockade caused by the freighter.

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“We are still investigating the cause of the incident and the cost, including payment of insurance and possible compensation for damages,” Yumi Shinohara, from Shoei Kisen’s freight management department, told Reuters.

The Japanese firm is reported to have $ 3 billion in insurance in case of potential claims.

Due to losses due to perishable goods or due to the alteration in the supply chain, there may be claims from both the owners of the cargo of the Ever Given as with the other ships that have been delayed.

For its part, Evergreen Marine, the Taiwan-based company in charge of chartering the ship, said Thursday that it is not responsible for the delays in the distribution of the cargo carried by the ship, which, according to the authorities, will not move from the current area until the investigation ends. .

“There is almost no chance of compensation being claimed from us,” Evergreen Marine president Eric Hsieh ruled out.

Evergreen’s agent in Egypt, Mohamed Bahaa, said he does not expect a dispute between his company and the Suez Canal Authority.

Rabie said the ship and the cargo it carries (nearly 20,000 containers) are unlikely to remain in Egypt should the compensation issue go to court.

Lasting consequences

The blockade is also expected to generate a wave of claims to insurers. For example, London-based insurance company Lloyd’s expects “huge losses” of $ 100 million or more, its president, Bruce Carnegie-Brown, said this week.

Guy plates, secretary general of the International Chamber of Maritime Transport, said it will take time before the industry recovers from the consequences of the blockade.

“Now they are in a rush for ships to cross the canal, which will have an effect on the destination ports because they will become congested. That means there will also be delays,” Platten told the BBC.

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