The cargo ship Ever Given’s owner has invoked a principle allowing it to distribute the costs of disaster recovery among the customers it ships cargo for, which could greatly complicate transferring thousands of containers off the ship, as well as paying Cairo for damages.
As customers whose products were being shipped on the cargo vessel Ever Given when it became lodged in the Suez Canal last month, became anxious about the delivery of their orders, parent company Evergreen is considering putting the ship’s cargo onto other vessels.
“Customers are asking when their boxes will be delivered after the ship seizure, and the prospect of moving the containers to other ships and delivering them to the clients in Europe is now on the table,” a person directly involved in the matter told the Wall Street Journal recently.
There are some 18,000 containers on the Ever Given, a 224,000-ton cargo vessel that was travelling from Taiwan to the Netherlands. According to WSJ, the ship could be shifted to Port Said, at the northern end of the canal, to facilitate the offloading of cargo, but it would depend heavily on the Egyptian government’s reaction.
Ever Given owner Shoei Kisen has also invoked a clause in shipping law called “general average” in connection with the disaster, allowing the company to distribute the associated costs across owners of cargo on the vessel. According to Maritime-Executive, Shoei Kinsen will impose bond requirements on cargo interests before releasing the containers it’s hauling.
However, the Ever Given’s insurer, UK Protection and Indemnity Club, has indicated it intends to fight the Egyptian government’s ruling, calling the indemnity “extraordinarily huge” and the claim behind it “unsupported.”