Bickering Egyptian pilots have been blamed for this year’s most high profile shipping casualty:

Bickering Egyptian pilots have been blamed for this year’s most high profile shipping casualty:

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The increase in power created unforeseen problems in the shape of what is known as Bernoulli’s principle

Unforeseen, huh?

I would hope so. Wind restrictions and dredging are expensive.

So now it is the Egyptian pilots’ fault. Why then arrest ship, cargo, Master and crew?

The two pilots certainly played a part, especially when neither agreed with each other during the short transit. Still bitching while getting off the ship. I am sure they were both grilled by their peers. We may never hear the contents of the “Questions or Answers.” Wonder if when SCA got the bridge recordings is when they decided to take a lesser ransom?


Because the culture there is one where they’re so proud that it couldn’t be their fault for providing incompetent pilotage service?

Nothing in that article was a surprise to me but the SCA will never acknowledge any sort of failure on their part.

The same kind of bravado and denial was shown in the EgyptAir 990 crash.


It is interesting that the ULCV immediately ahead of the EG had no issues nor the 300m container vessel directly astern.

Correct sir.

“The Egyptian Commercial Maritime Law No. 8 for 1990 (“Maritime Law”) also made the vessel’s owner responsible for the acts of the vessel’s captain, sailors, pilots and any other person in the service of the vessel (Article 80), and that the vessel’s owner is solely liable for damage incurred to third parties as a result of the mistakes committed by the pilots during carrying out their job (Article 287).

In reply to a challenge against the relevant articles of the Maritime Law, the Egyptian High Constitutional Court explained in a judgment in 2010 that holding the vessel’s owner liable for the mistakes of SCA’s pilots is rational and does not violate the principle of equality or the general rules of liability of the employer for the acts of its employees. The court explained that the SCA’s pilots while guiding the vessels to pass through the Suez Canal waterway act for the benefit of the vessel and become subordinate to the vessel’s captain. The vessel therefore should be liable for the pilots’ acts even if they are hired by the SCA.”

Quoted from Riad and Riad Law Firm website.

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License to steal. May as well kept the pilots off, they surely didn’t help this transit. Most captains know their vessels much better than people think. Almost legal piracy to arrest the vessel when SCA association are/ were complicit in this mess. Egyptian High court is a joke.

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Any shipowner worth their salt should be well aware of the SCA’s ability, with High Court support, to basically devolve themselves of any liability irrespective of the actions of their employees. With that in mind it implies that the Master should be requested to adopt additional precautions when transiting the canal. This Master appeared to be under commercial pressure. Meteorological conditions were not ideal yet the ship ahead of him was the same size and was proceeding. On face value, the Pilotage team allocated to EG appeared to be dysfunctional. One had reservations about the vessel entering………not a good start to a functional bridge team. It all fell apart when the vessel achieved an SOG exceeding 12 knots contrary to SCA written dictates. Bank effect became the top dog.


Question remains why ms Ever Given increased speed and changed course just before ramming the east canal side, etc. Nobody does it in a narrow canal anywhere.

Define “no issues.” I imagine the situation was pretty tense on other ships, as well. Pushing the drift/interaction envelope sets up a fine line between things staying perfectly fine or going spectacularly bad, kinda like riding a motorcycle to its full ability. Ever Given just happened to be the one they let get away from them, where flawed decisions were made (pushing the speed out of the envelope), highlighting the unsafe practice.

There are many things I want to know about this accident, which I fear I’ll never know since I don’t trust the SCA to put out a thorough and honest report. Let’s just hope that their greed, dishonesty and institutional dysfunction won’t prevent them from learning from this mess, establishing safe operational limits.


“No Issues” generically indicates that they did no ground at 12.4 knots. Nor did any other vessel in the convoy who supposedly were subjected to exactly the same conditions albeit with different windage factors.

The AIS simulation is fascinating.

How much more windage effect are these ships going to have compared to smaller ones? Leeway would be related to the ratio of the sail area (windage) to the underwater area. That ratio is going to be roughly the same for most large container ships since the larger ships also have a deeper draft.

The difference between a conventional container ship and a VLCS is the height of the stack. Wind speed will be somewhat higher at greater heights.

The interesting fact is that the wind was from the South when she entered and the grounding occurred on a northerly channel transit. Simplistically, the grounding was not generated by wind force but as a result of speed related bank effect and that is why all other convoy participants were OK.
At UTC 0516 SOG 9 knots with the wind on the starboard quarter and on a northeast heading, leeway has displaced her to the port edge of the channel. From this point onwards SOG increases rapidly and she gains some displacement back into the channel. Then bank effect takes over.

Don’t know how much the wind had to do with this incident but higher winds not only increase leeway but also will induce yaw resulting in course keeping becoming more difficult. This is true with beam winds as well as winds on the quarter.

If the winds were aft the EG may have experienced winds on the quarter, perhaps shifting from port/stbd quarter as she followed the turns in the channel and/or shifting winds / gusts causing increased difficulty with course-keeping.

Yes it is fascinating and mysterious. ms Ever Given entered the Suez Canal from Suez anchorage at 7 knots and then increased speed all the time to ram the canal side at 13 knots a couple of minutes later a couple of miles from the entry. Why did the ship increase speed?

Just because they didn’t have an incident doesn’t mean there were no issues with the transit. It would be interesting to see the COSCO Galaxy pilot card and see what the maneuvering differences are (bells and draft).
Also to note vessels of similar size don’t always handle similarly.

That the Pilots argue in a high stress situation isn’t that big of a deal. It also doesn’t mean that they are incompetent. You can’t put 10 pounds of shit in a five pound bag without it eventually breaking.

Edit — your video was posted earlier and it is very interesting but it does not give wind speed (as far as I can tell). It does illustrate exactly how little room there is for this ship to maneuver.