Two days after leaving Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal, the Ever Given is still anchored on the Port Said roadstead on the north side of the canal in the Mediterranean.
According to the British WK Webster group, which specializes in maritime claims, an investigation into the condition of the underwater hull is being carried out by divers. Depending on the outcome, it is decided whether repairs are necessary and whether the ship can go to its final destination in one go.
According to Webster, the bottom of the container giant, which has been held in Great Bitter Lake for more than three months, is also being cleaned. AIS shows that the ship is in international waters, just outside the Egyptian 12-mile zone, so that the Egyptian authorities no longer have any control over it. When the ship lifts the anchors, it can be in a northwestern European port in about ten days.
A spokesperson for the Port of Rotterdam Authority confirms that it is still uncertain whether the ‘blocking vessel’ will come to its original destination port of Rotterdam. The option of a British port is also being explicitly examined. It is clear that the ‘Ever Given’ will go to one port of discharge on the basis of a requirement from the hull insurer and will not complete its originally planned rotation.
According to the spokesperson, this choice is motivated by the fear that affected parties will seize in other ports. When choosing the port of discharge, the shipping company and the insurers are guided by the question of where the least legal complications can be expected. The fact that there are major differences between Dutch and British maritime legislation plays an important role in this.
What is certain is that the Port of Rotterdam Authority will not let the arrival of the currently most famous merchant ship in the world pass unnoticed if it sets course for Rotterdam. “It’s hard to sweep him under the rug,” the spokesperson said. The Port Authority wants to prevent ‘undesirable situations’, such as photographers trying to get close to the container ship with a boat.
When the ship comes to Rotterdam, it will probably be moored at ECT’s Delta terminal on the Maasvlakte, where Evergreen is a regular customer. Because all an estimated 13,000 containers have to be unloaded and stored there, the ship will occupy a berth for some time. This is inconvenient at a time when all container terminals in Northwest Europe are running at peak capacity and many ships are delayed.
In addition, the Ever Given containers will take a hefty bite out of the terminal’s storage capacity (stack), as the release and delivery of all containers is likely to take weeks, and possibly months. Some may quickly be transported by feeder ship to the original final destination, but many containers will first have to be inspected at the port of discharge before they can be released.
It can also be expected that some of the containers with a relatively low cargo value will not be collected. As a result of the months-long delay, the value of many cargoes, such as those of orange EK paraphernalia, has decreased. In addition, shippers have to pay for the costs of the storage and they only receive their containers after they have issued a guarantee. By saying goodbye to their containers, they avoid those costs, at least for the time being.