Suez Canal reopens after giant stranded ship is freed, Indian crew might face legal consequences: Report

The blockage at the Suez Canal disrupted global trade, causing losses worth billions. About 15 percent of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal.

The Indian members of the crew on the Ever Given container ship that blocked traffic through the Suez Canal will likely come under scrutiny once an investigation begins, media reports suggest.

The Indian government and the seafarers’ organisations are concerned about legal issues, including the likelihood of criminal charges, that the 25 Indian crew members might face, The Times of India reported.

The ship’s operator Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement has blamed strong winds as the reason for the crash and ruled out mechanical or engine failure as a cause. Observers blame the ‘Sail Effect’ for the grounding. The ‘Sail Effect’ happens when strong winds strike a ship with containers stacked high. The effect pushes the ship in the direction of the wind.

Another section of observers disagree and say that the ship lost power to steer in high winds and technical and human errors may be to blame.

Egyptian officials say the backlog of ships waiting to transit through should be cleared in around three days, but experts believe the knock-on effect on global shipping could take weeks or even months to resolve

Over the weekend, it was feared that some of the ship’s cargo of some 18,000 containers would have to be removed in order to lighten the load.But high tides helped the tugs and dredgers in their work and early on Monday, the stern (rear of the ship) was freed and the great ship swung across the canal, to shouts of celebration. Hours later, the bow (front) too came unstuck, and the Ever Given was able to move out.

The vessel was towed to the Great Bitter Lake, which sits between two sections of the canal to the north of the salvage site, where it will undergo safety checks.

What happens to the ship now?

It will now undergo a full inspection at the Great Bitter Lake, the vessel’s technical managers, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, said.

It said there had been no reports of pollution or cargo damage, and initial investigations had ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding last week.

The ship’s Indian crew of 25 remaining aboard the vessel are safe and in good health, BSM said, adding: “Their hard work and tireless professionalism are greatly appreciated.”

The ship’s containers are carrying a huge variety of items and the insured value of the cargo is believed to amount to hundreds of millions of dollars

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