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Ever Given is stranded again: this time it is stuck in legal battle

The Ever Given, the ship that crashed in the Suez Canal at the end of March, paralysed a large part of World Trade, has been stranded again. This time not in a big pile of sand and clay, but through a dispute with the authority that runs over the canal.

The Egyptians want money – they do it all the time. The rescue operation was expensive and, more importantly, revenues from the canal were lost. Local authorities have therefore seized the Ever Given.

The Japanese owner of the ship, the company Shoei Kisen Kaisha, was presented with the bill of about 900 million dollars. But who exactly has to pay is unclear. In addition to the Japanese owner, there is the Taiwanese owner Evergreen and the ship sails under Panamanian flag.

Moreover, the Japanese have invoked a maritime legal principle that regulates that both the owner and customers contribute to the payment after an accident. The question is whether there was force majeure or human error. Egyptian authorities have started an investigation into the cause of the accident, but it may take some time to arrive.

The collapse of the Ever Given between 23 and 29 March had major consequences: about 10 percent of global trade flows through the Suez Canal. When the ship was pulled up, about 400 ships were waiting for the canal. Other ships chose an alternative, longer route.

Paolo Sorbello

Paolo Sorbello is a journalist and researcher. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, studying state-business relations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. He is also the Business News Editor of the weekly newspaper The Conway Bulletin.

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