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Thursday, 1 April 2021

And now, we investigate

The Suez Canal Authority’s (SCA) investigation into the Ever Given’s grounding is now officially underway. Officials from the SCA will board the vessel today to begin their probe into the crew’s actions in the moments leading to the ship running aground in the Suez Canal last week Sayed Sheaysha, a senior advisor to the authority who is leading the probe, told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 10:03). While Sheaysha told Reuters yesterday that Ever Given’s captain is fully committed to helping the SCA with the investigation, he complained to Lamees that the vessel hasn’t been responding to emailed requests for relevant information, signaling potential complications down the road.

The Ever Given will remain in Egyptian waters for another week or more until investigations are wrapped, SCA boss Osama Rabie tells Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 19:26). Local and international ins. companies are welcome to lend a hand to the SCA in the investigation process, he said.

The SCA expects to claim some USD 1 bn in damages from ins. companies, which includes foregone revenues of around USD 15 mn per day (multiplied by the six days the Ever Given blocked off the waterway) and damages to the Suez Canal from dredging the bank’s embankment to dislodge the ship, Rabie tells Ala Masouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 25:44). The Suez Canal won’t be held responsible for any damages as a result of the incident, he confirmed to Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 14:26). Lawyers said earlier this week that Egypt will likely be entitled for payments from the Japanese company for services rendered to refloat the ship.

The SCA could reach an agreement with the ship’s operator and owner Shoei Kisen within 3-4 days on compensation payments, depending on how the investigation goes, Sheaysha added. In the event the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the matter will be handed over to Egypt’s prosecutors, who will file a case against the shipping company in domestic courts. This process could take years and the vessel would be required to remain in place until the case is settled, Sheaysha said, suggesting that it’s in everybody’s best interest to reach an agreement out of court.

Meanwhile, the traffic backlog is continuing to clear up, with at least 81 additional ships sailing in both directions by mid-day yesterday, Rabie said yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. By our math, this brings the number of vessels waiting to transit down to 86, from the 422 that were originally backed up as the Ever Given was being dislodged. The delayed ships are getting 5-15% markdowns on their transit fees to compensate for the delay, Rabie told Ahmed Moussa.

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