May 22, 2021 - World

Ship owner blames Suez Canal for massive blockage, lawyer says

The container ship Ever Given moving on the Suez Canal, Egypt, on March 29.

The container ship Ever Given moving on the Suez Canal, Egypt, on March 29. Photo: Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa via Getty Images

An attorney for the owner of the skyscraper-sized container ship Ever Given argued on Saturday that Suez Canal operators were at fault for the ship's grounding, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: The ship is currently detained in Egypt as the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) attempts to secure a $916.5 million claim against its Japan-based operator, Shoei Kisen. An Egyptian court is expected to make a decision the claim on Sunday, per Bloomberg.

The big picture: Shoei Kisen's legal team argued that Suez Canal operators were responsible because they allowed the massive ship to enter the waterway during high winds, which caused a sandstorm and poor visibility.

  • Ahmed Abu Ali, a member of the legal team, told Reuters that operators failed to provide evidence proving a fault committed by the ship and that tugboats should have accompanied the Ever Given during its trip through the canal.
  • The ship owner is claiming $100,000 in compensation from canal authorities for losses related to the ship's detention, which it argues was legally flawed.
  • The SCA has previously denied it was at fault, Reuters noted.

The intrigue: A supermoon ultimately helped free the massive ship, which paralyzed the vital shipping route for almost a week in March.

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