The Japanese owners of the notorious ‘Ever Given’, which blocked the Suez canal for a week last year, are due to defend themselves in a London High Court.

Shoei Kisen Kaisha are the owners of the vessel operated by the carrier Evergreen, and have been taken to court by four major traders and an insurance company to recover losses incurred by spoilt food.

They allege the ship was sailing for 18 minutes above the 12-knot speed limit losing control and veering from side to side before grounding on one of the banks of the canal.

According to evidence heard in an Egyptian court last year; the ship entered the canal on March 23 2021 in stormy conditions.

A few kilometres in, the 400m long ship veered from port to starboard and back again, as the lead Suez Canal Authority (SCA) pilot instructed the helmsman to steer hard right, then hard left.

The hull took so long to respond that by the time it began to move, the helmsman needed to correct course again, and was asked to speed up before control was lost. Before the grounding, the two pilots were reported to be arguing, with one threatening to leave the ship.

The incident led to a blocking of the intercontinental trade lane for a week and creating the most high profile shipping accident this century.

One French reinsurer has recently estimated that claims relating to the ‘Ever Given’ will top $2 billion.

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