Progress made moving a container ship blocking the Suez Canal should allow some traffic to resume today, while Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) said that it leased the vessel, but would refuse to pay if it remained stuck.
The MV Ever Given — a so-called “megaship” at 220,000 tonnes and 400m long — which ran aground in the southern part of the canal in Egypt, had been partially moved and is alongside the bank, said Ahmed Mekawy, deputy manager of the Suez Canal for GAC Group, a provider of port-agent services.
The vessel was soon expected to be refloated, Mekawy said, adding that the Suez Canal Authority would then work on resuming transit for all waiting ships.
The canal authority had yet to comment on whether the vessel had been moved.
Evergreen, which chartered Ever Given from Luster Maritime SA, was notified by the ship owner that the vessel deviated from its course due to suspected sudden strong wind and ran aground 6 nautical miles (11km) south of the estuary at 8am on Tuesday, it said in a statement yesterday.
Evergreen urged the ship owner to report the cause of the incident and set up a plan with the authorities to get the vessel out of trouble as soon as possible, it said.
Evergreen said that it rented the vessel under a time charter arrangement to add cargo capacity to its operations from East Asia to Europe, while the crew was appointed by the ship owner.
“We rent the vessel and decide which seaports it will go to for our sea cargo business. If the Ever Given is still aground and cannot operate normally, we will not pay the rent,” a company official told the Taipei Times by telephone.
Whether Evergreen would seek compensation from the ship owner would depend on the cause of the incident, and it would make the decision after an investigation is completed, it added.
Luster Maritime, which is headquartered in Panama and a unit of Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, provides sea freight transportation services.
The incident left dozens of ships gridlocked as they attempted to transit between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
Efforts to free the ship had so far proceeded faster than initial warnings that traffic could be choked off for days.
The 193km-long Suez Canal is among the most trafficked waterways in the world, used by tankers shipping crude from the Middle East to Europe and North America.
About 12 percent of global trade and 8 percent of liquefied natural gas pass through the canal, as do about 1 million barrels of oil per day.
The Ever Given was grounded early on Tuesday amid poor visibility caused by a dust storm and wind speeds that reached 40 knots, resulting in a “loss of the ability to steer the ship,” the canal authority said.
About 42 vessels either in the northbound convoy or arriving to transit the canal in that direction were waiting for the Ever Given to be refloated, Leth Agencies, one of the top providers of Suez Canal crossing services, said in a notice to clients.
The company said that it was sending a dredger to help free the ship.
About 64 vessels traveling southbound were also affected.
GAC said that 15 affected ships were waiting at anchorage.
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