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Sunday, 30 May 2021

Ever Given court hearing delayed to allow settlement talks

The ruling on compensation demands against Ever Given owner Shoei Kisen has been postponed to 20 June after the Ismailia Economic Court adjourned yesterday the USD 550 mn lawsuit filed by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), the SCA said in a statement. The move to postpone the hearing is primarily due to requests made by lawyers representing the SCA and the shipowner to allow for extra time for further negotiations on the compensation value. The SCA is seeking damages after the mega vessel blocked the canal for six days in March.

“There are endeavors to reach a settlement, and because they are good clients, we are asking the court to postpone to negotiate and study the offer submitted by the owners,” Bloomberg reported SCA attorney Nabil Zidan as saying in court. “Negotiations are on and there’s flexibility from both sides,” said Ahmed Abu Shanab, a lawyer for the ship’s owner.

The postponement came less than a week after the SCA slashed its compensation demands from the USD 916 mn initially claimed after it found it had apparently miscalculated the value of cargoes aboard of the Ever Given. The SCA had previously said an initial USD 200 mn down payment could see it release the ship from the Great Bitter Lake, where it is currently being held, if Shoei Kisen gets an LG from an Egyptian bank for the rest of the amount. The vessel’s insurers, however, said that the value was still too high, offering to pay USD 150 mn instead of USD 550 mn.

This is the second time a hearing for the compensation claim is postponed as the court was first due to announce two separate verdicts related to the Ever Given on 23 May. It later decided to look at the lawsuit on 29 May after rejecting an appeal lodged by Shoei Kisen against the seizure of the ship.

The story leading coverage of Egypt in the international press on this slow news morning. Reuters, Bloomberg and the Associated Press all have the story.

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