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Maersk Sues Evergreen Over Impact of the Ever Given Grounding

Excavator digging out the bow of the Ever Given
Insurers are still digging out from claims connected to the grounding (Image courtesy Suez Canal Authority)

Published Feb 13, 2023 6:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk has filed suit against rival Evergreen over the delays caused by the infamous grounding of the boxship Ever Given in the Suez Canal two years ago. 

The Ever Given went aground in the Suez Canal on March 23, 2021, shortly after she entered the southern entrance. Her length greatly exceeded the canal's width, and with bow and stern firmly wedged in each bank, she blocked the waterway to marine traffic. 

In a complex salvage operation involving hundreds of people, shore-based excavating equipment, cutter suction dredgers and at least 10 tugs, the ship was refloated on March 29. In the interim, up to 400 ships had their voyages disrupted by the shutdown of the canal. The effects rippled out in the form of delays for cargoes bound for ports in Europe, the U.S. East Coast and beyond. 

Among the vessels delayed by the grounding were 50 Maersk boxships, according to Danish outlet ShippingWatch. Maersk is reportedly suing Evergreen, shipowner Shoei Kisen Kaisha and technical manager Bernhard Schulte for damages totaling $43 million from the disruption. The line has confirmed the suit, but not the dollar amount.

Maersk's filing is the latest in a string of legal actions connected to the incident. Total claims related to the grounding could amount to a massive $2 billion, according to French insurer Scor SE, and the cost will largely be borne by the reinsurance sector. The Suez Canal Authority alone sued Evergreen for $900 million, though it is believed to have settled for far less.