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© Cnes 2021, Distribution Airbus DS.

As the investigation into the grounding of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal begins, the vessel’s Japanese owner, Shoe Kisen, this morning declared General Average.

And a customer circular from Evergreen, seen by The Loadstar, confirms that Shoe Kisen this morning appointed Richard Hogg Lindley as adjustor.

For the vessel, now at anchor at the Bitter Lakes area undergoing technical inspections, a possible date of departure to ports of discharge has yet to be set.

And while there is no reported damage to the cargo, and that to the vessel appeared to be minimal, the cost of the salvage operation, which ultimately required 11 tugs and two dredgers, as well as possible compensation claims from a variety of interests such as the Suez Canal Authority or shipping companies caught up in the backlog, could amount to a sizeable bill.

In addition, it remains unclear whether there will be a separate salvage claim from the vessel’s salvors.

While the backlog of vessels waiting to transit Suez is now expected to be cleared over the next couple of days, shippers and freight forwarders with cargo on the Ever Given could be in for a long wait for it to be released.

The problem for cargo interests, according to insurance sources, is that the cost of the casualty to its owners is likely to take some time to determine, if it involves claims from other parties, which means the adjustors will remain unable to fix the level of the general average and salvage securities.

The last time General Average was declared was following the 2018 fire on board the Maersk Honam. After declaring GA, the adjustor fixed the salvage security at 42.5% of cargo value and 11.5% as a GA deposit – this meant a shipper with a cargo worth $100,000 needed to pay a combined deposit of $54,000 to get its cargo released.

This leaves shippers with uninsured cargo highly vulnerable to losing it, as the owner can hold the goods under lien until the deposit is paid. Shippers with insured goods will have those deposits covered by their insurers.

According to panellists on a recent webinar on container casualties, held by the London Shipping Law Centre, GA is only declared in incidents which have incurred an extraordinary loss – the general rule of thumb being a loss of over £10m on a ship of 15,000 teu or bigger.

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  • [email protected]

    April 02, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    Terrific update on this incident.

  • Alex Lennane

    April 07, 2021 at 10:49 am

    From Ingvar Bergman:

    Opine use of G/A wrong. There was no ‘salvage’ and no ‘act of God’ as I could understand. Both vessel and cargo safe, I feel sorry for the cargo owners (CO) who will suffer from contribution to G/A and delay in delivery and those inadequately insured with expected paperwork. I opine this is not a G/A case. I agree with one writer to issue a separate claim for compensation for the tugs The vessel and cargo were in a sheltered area and there was no risk of situation to deteriorate

    LEAVE THE COs AND CONCENTRATE YOUR EFFORTS TO FACTFINDING OF THE ACTIONS (or lack of) ON THE BRIDGE. !!

    Technical failure ? Bow thrusters ? Radar that did not work properly or set on wrong scale?
    .
    Present G/A form is dated (I presume) some 100 years ago. There were few CO with limited number of Bs/l onboard at tha​t time Size of vessels has taken a dramatic development and so have the values of them,