- The Ever Given crew are stuck on the ship while Egypt impounds it over a $916 million legal claim.
- The union representative for the crew of 26 said they must not be “held to ransom” in the case.
- Marine experts have said Egypt’s demands for money are far too large, suggesting a battle to come.
The crew of the Ever Given remain stuck on board the ship more than three weeks after it was dislodged from the Suez Canal.
Its 26 members cannot leave the vessel, moored in an artificial lake along the canal, with limited exceptions. They are stuck because Egyptian authorities have impounded the vessel while they seek almost a billion dollars from its owners and operators.
The situation prompted the a union representative to warn against their being “held to ransom” in the legal dispute, a situation not uncommon for mariners whose ships are caught in legal trouble.
The Ever Given has been impounded in the canal’s Great Bitter Lake holding area since April 13, as the state-owned Suez Canal Authority pursues Japanese owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd for a $916 million in damages.
As the company is contesting the lawsuit, there is no immediate sign that the ship’s crew of Indian nationals will be able to leave soon – even though the Ever Given itself has been declared fit to proceed by inspectors.
Abdulgani Serang, head of the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) told The Guardian: “These are professionals who had nothing to do with this incident and should not be held to ransom.”
“Let the negotiations go wherever they need to go,” he added. “[…] The situation shouldn’t arise that our seafarers there in Egypt are on the receiving end of something. They should not feel any heat at all from this whole incident.”
Serang earlier told Insider that the crew were safe and healthy, which was echoed by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the ship’s technical manager, in an April 14 update.