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Evergreen denies it was sued over Suez blockage

Evergreen Marine Corp on Friday dismissed a foreign news report that it was being sued by the Japanese owners of the Ever Given container ship, saying that Evergreen is just “an involved party” listed in the lawsuit.

Evergreen chartered the Panama-flagged vessel from Japan’s Shoei Risen Kaisha Ltd.

The 400m-long ship last month blocked the Suez Canal for six days after it ran aground 6 nautical miles (11km) from the southern end of the estuary.

The Web site Business Insider India on Friday reported that Higaki Sangyo Kaisha Ltd and Luster Maritime SA filed a lawsuit against Evergreen at the High Court in London.

Luster Maritime is a unit of Shoei Risen Kaisha.

The lawsuit listed two defendants in the case — Evergreen Marine and all other persons claiming or being entitled to claim damages — the Indian news outlet reported.

Evergreen said it was on Thursday notified by the shipowners’ lawyers that they would apply to the British court for the limitation of liability based on the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, which was signed in London in 1976.

“Although the shipowners listed Evergreen as a defendant in a form in the lawsuit, they did not sue us. We were listed as a relevant party in the case,” Evergreen said in a statement.

That is the company’s understanding after talking with lawyers, a company official said.

“It would not make sense if the shipowners sued us. We rented the vessel, but we do not operate it. We pay the shipowners to operate the vessel, and even the crew were assigned by the owners,” the official said by telephone.

Evergreen has not decided whether it would seek compensation from the shipowners, as the cause of the incident is not yet clear, the company said.

Evergreen Marine president Eric Hsieh told an investors’ conference in Taipei on Thursday that the company is not responsible for Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal, as its responsibility is to ensure the safety of the goods onboard.

“There is almost no chance that we will be sought to pay compensation,” he said.
Source: Taipei Times

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