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Grounded Vessel in Suez Canal Creates Havoc for Global Shipping

[ March 26, 2021   //   ]

Shipping continues to face the perfect storm and now with the massive container ship Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal, global shipping and supply chain concerns have become even more critical.
Ever Given is a 20,000 TEU-class container ship, currently leased by Evergreen Marine Corp. under a time charter agreement with the crew hired by the shipowner. The ship is currently deployed on a Far East-Europe service route.
The Evergreen vessel ran aground in the Canal on March 23. The incident occurred as the container ship proceeded northbound through the waterway from the Red Sea. As a result the Suez Canal passage is currently blocked for any marine traffic in both directions.
As of March 26, some 50 ships were already piling up around the canal. And experts within the industry say this will add to a glut of vessels arriving at destination ports all at once.
Steamship executives companies are now facing the stark reality that they may have to re-route their vessels around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope , a voyage that will add around $500,000 and 10 extra days per voyage.
The Hyundai Prestige was diverted around the longer route on March 25. Hapag Lloyd reported on March 26 that its ships the HMM Dublin (FE2 Service), HMM Stockholm (FE3 Service), HMM Rotterdam (FE3 Service), ONE Munchen (EC4 Service), YM Wellhead (EC4 Service), and ONE Marvel (EC5 Service) had been diverted.
Besides the costs and supply chain concerns, the diversion of the ships is bringing security concerns. The ships carry billions of dollars-worth of cargo. Captains fear they will be sitting ducks for pirates, particularly in waters off east Africa where they are known to operate. One only has to recall the incident that involved the Maersk Alabama that was attacked in April 2009 by Somali pirates who abducted its Captain. Richard Phillips and demanded a $10 million ransom.
Ships are already experiencing delays in getting unloaded and then re-loaded. Plus there are only a limited number of specialist cranes that can deal with vessels of this size..
As of 07:00 Egypt time Thursday March 25, Evergreen confirmed that after 48 hours of proactive efforts to re-float Ever Given, the time chartered vessel’s grounding situation was still not been resolved. The shipowner has appointed two maritime professional rescue teams from the Netherlands (Smit Salvage) and Japan (Nippon Salvage) to attend the ship. These teams will be working with the Captain and the Suez Canal Authority to design a more effective plan for refloating the vessel as soon as possible.
Evergreen Line reports that it will continue to coordinate with the shipowner and Suez Canal Authority to deal with the situation with the utmost urgency, ensuring the resumption of the voyage as soon as possible and to mitigate the effects of the incident. As the vessel is chartered, the responsibility for the expense incurred in the recovery operation; third party liability and the cost of repair (if any) is the owners.

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