AsiaContainersGreater ChinaMiddle EastOperations

Suez Canal Authority to blame for Ever Given’s high speed: UK P&I Club

The insurer of the giant, 20,388 teu Ever Given has fired back in the ongoing compensation battle to get the ship freed.

The UK P&I Club yesterday disputed claims made earlier by the Suez Canal Authority that the ship’s captain was to blame for the accident that led to the 400 m ship blocking the waterway for six days in March.

The SCA has suggested the ship was travelling too fast. AIS playbacks of the incident do show the ship, travelling in very blustery conditions, was speeding through the waterway at 13 knots at the time it ran into difficulty, four or five knots above standard speeds for transits.

Canal transit within a convoy is controlled by the Suez Canal pilots and SCA vessel traffic management services

Blame for the ship’s speed ought not to lie with the master of the vessel, the UK Club argued yesterday as both sides battle on a compensation figure, which potentially could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Critically it is important to clarify that whilst the master is ultimately responsible for the vessel, navigation in the Canal transit within a convoy is controlled by the Suez Canal pilots and SCA vessel traffic management services. Such controls include the speed of the transit and the availability of escort tugs,” the club claimed.

The Shoei Kisen-owned ship is under arrest in the Great Bitter Lake awaiting a final court verdict on compensation, a hearing that has dragged on and on, and is now set for June 20.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


    1. If the master of the ship have to be blame every time there is a accident and pilot is present, then why is there a pilot on-board . The pilot usually take full control of the bridge while the captain observe, shouldn’t it be the other way around . Some of these pilots are know all kind of guys ,

      1. The pilot only has legal responsibility in the Panama Canal. Everywhere else the Master has responsibility.

      2. pilot is only onboard in advisory capacity masters word is final pilot onboard for his local knowledge

    2. Confirm pilot to nr blame is in the home ground of the pilot why the cpt… Only educated fools and money mongering monkeys will blame the cpt.

  1. This is becoming interesting. I think that the SCA will stick to the claim that the Captain of the Ever Given could have suggested the pilots to slow down. The SCA will further based its defense in the fact that Pilots are “advisors” hence the Captain still holds the responsibility for the naviagtion of his ship.
    However, failing to provide the necessary resources for the safe transit of a ship the size of the Ever Given, undoubtedly makes the SCA takes the stand.
    The need for clear rules, procedures, and roles, to be revised or updated to award liability is clear.

  2. the fact that the authorities claim faster speed made by the ship, does not come from the ship’s captain who is in this case under the command of the maneuver instructions of the crossing service pilots. Therefore, such allegation is unfounded, and does not justify the apprehension of the ship, the ship’s captain, as well as the personnel who were receiving instructions from the service pilots.

  3. What does a Somalian pirate and the owners of the suez canal got in common? The Egyptians is holding the evergreen randsom legally. There us no difference between pirates and the suez canal owners…

  4. There are TWO major issues that need to be addressed : First, circumstances that lead to the incidence. Second, efforts by all stake holders in mitigating the (consequential) losses.
    In the first instance, blaming the Master (solely) for the (high) speed is not fair. Specially, if there is NIL evidence to demonstrate that the Pilot(s) cautioned the Master (repeatedly) that vessel speed was “high”……..important to note whether SCA has adequate proof to show that Master defied the Pilot’s “caution // guidance” and willfully maintained a higher speed. The SCA also needs to demonstrate whether their SOP permitted a vessel of this type/size to make the transit with a SINGLE tug. Obviously, they have charged the vessel owners a hefty transit fee. What were their obligations and did they execute due requirements, from THEIR end (whilst the vessel was in their care & jurisdiction)………Secondly, who is majorly guilty of holding a fully laden vessel for such a long time and escalating consequential losses. Will SCA proportionately (or in full) compensate the Claimants……it will be interesting to read the “root cause analysis” report and the “lessons learnt”.

  5. Evergreen should now sue SCA to court for unlawful detention of the vessel and for holding the ship and crew for ransom. I can tell from the very beginning of the incident that SCA is responsible for the grounding of the Ever Given. Global shipping practice allows for vessels under dispute to sail free after a bond guarantee is given by the ship’s underwriters. This goes to demonstrate SCA’s arrogance, ignorance of international shipping practice and, above all, greed on their part to lay exorbitant unsupported claims.

  6. Egypt is not at loss bcoz of Evergiven mishap… Within a week’s time all ships that were supposed to pass through Suez canal passed through it and Egypt earned money from them for passing… Hardly they spend 1 million dollar to remove the Evergiven’s struck… They have no right to claim 1 billion dollars in damage… It’s safe light robery… We need Israel to construct a parallel canal in its land to cater to the needs of container ships traffic…

  7. This event is subsiding into silliness all round. Unless things have changed the only place in the world where the Master relinquishes command of the Navigation of the ship to the pilot is the Panama Canal. Elsewhere it’s TMO&PA. What passed between the pilot and the Master on the bridge? Is there a BRIDGE VOICE RECORDER? Can the pilot countermand the Master or, if there’s a disagreement, does he go stand in the corner while the Master takes the con? I have had to sideline a pilot who was too hard on the ship. I anticipate the higher speed will be justified by the additional rudder power at higher speed needed to keep her mid-channel. This has got a long way to run.

  8. of course from a claim point of view, its in the interest of the insurance company in the UK to say its not the captains fault. or not

Back to top button