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Suez Canal chiefs’ $916m damages claim could run aground too

The Suez Canal Authority has been come under fire for its “unsupported” $916 million compensation claim against the Japanese owners of the ship that brought global container traffic to a halt last month.

International supply chains were thrown into disarray when the 400-metre Ever Given ran aground in the canal on March 23, with 18,300 containers on board, and held up 400 other ships.

Now the the investigating canal authorities are pursuing compensation claiming “great moral damage” while the container ship, owned by Shoei Kisen, has been sidelined in a lake separating two sections of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29.

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UK Club, the protection and indemnity (P&I) insurer for the Ever Given, said the canal’s claim included $300 million for a “salvage bonus” and $300 million for “loss of reputation”. 

“Despite the magnitude of the claim, which was largely unsupported, the owners and their insurers have been negotiating in good faith with the SCA,” UK Club said in a statement.

“On April 12, a carefully considered and generous offer was made to the SCA to settle their claim. We are disappointed by the SCA’s subsequent decision to arrest the vessel.”


Earlier on Tuesday, Yumi Shinohara, deputy manager with owner Shoei Kisen’s fleet management department, confirmed that the canal had made a compensation claim and that the ship had not been given clearance to leave.

There was no immediate comment from the SCA, but the authority’s chairman Osama Rabie said on Egyptian TV last week that the Ever Given would not leave until the investigation was finished and compensation paid. 

He said the canal had borne “great moral damage” as well as shipping fee losses and salvage operation costs. Results of the SCA’s investigation were expected by the end of the week.

  • Reporting by Reuters

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Sean OMeara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

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