Captain Stonewalls Canal Investigation

Egypt says it's out $1B, and companies could try to collect compensation from Ever Given
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2021 3:40 PM CDT
Freed Ship Still Hasn't Left Canal
Suez Canal tugboats accompany the cargo ship Ever Given as it moves in the Suez Canal on Monday.   (Suez Canal Authority via AP)

The Ever Given is free, but it's not going anywhere. The Suez Canal Authority said the captain of the cargo ship, which was stuck for six days before being freed Monday, hasn't turned over the ship's black box or documents needed for the investigation, despite several requests. The ship won't be allowed to resume its trip to Rotterdam until the authority clears it, USA Today reports. The owner of the ship, Shoei Kisen Kaisha of Japan, has promised to cooperate. The authority has the option of seizing the ship, a consultant said, and filing a lawsuit. Responsibility for steering the ship belongs solely to the captain, who has to be on the bridge at all times. There were two senior pilots on the Ever Given whose job it is to advise the captain, per the Washington Post. "The pilots can offer their guidance and opinions, but the captain can choose to refuse it," a senior pilot said.

The main issue now is money. Egypt could try to collect $1 billion, and the 400 ships blocked by the Ever Given for six days could seek their own compensation, as could companies whose goods were sitting on the ships. The canal authority said its bill would go to covering lost transit fees, the dredging, the expenses for the dozen tugboats that worked to free the ship, and any damage to the canal caused by the dredging. "This is the right of the country," the head of the authority said. "It should get its due." The canal's shutdown was estimated to cost as much as $10 billion a day globally. The authority plans changes to prevent a repeat, including adding support boats, waiting areas outside the canal, and increasing capacity from 50 ships a day to 95. (Just seeing photos of the ship stuck in the canal was a problem for some people.)

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