- Egyptian authorities are investigating the Ever Given after it blocked the Suez Canal for six days.
- The National Union of Seafarers of India’s general secretary is hopeful the crew will be absolved.
- The union’s general secretary said the crew will continue to be paid as the inquiry continues.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The 25-person Indian crew of the Ever Given is stressed and tense, but is doing well as the massive container ship faces investigations after blocking the Suez Canal.
Abdulgani Serang, the general secretary of the National Union of Seafarers of India, gave Insider an update on their wellbeing on Friday.
The Egyptian government launched an inquiry into the event to uncover what went wrong after the ship became wedged in the canal and upended global trade. Investigators questioned the Ever Given’s crew on Wednesday, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie told local outlets, according to Reuters.
“There is a clear danger that the crew will be made scapegoats,” a senior authority in the shipping industry told the Times of India. The publication also said the Ever Given’s crew could be placed under house arrest until the investigation is completed.
Serang told Insider that the crew of the Ever Given is safe and awaiting the results of the investigation, and added that reports about the status of the crew have been blown out of proportion.
“We want the inquiry done so corrective measures can be taken in the future,” Serang told Insider, “but we don’t want to take a guess about house arrest. Let’s not jump the gun and just wait for the results of the inquiry.”
Despite the investigation, Serang told Insider he’s optimistic that the crewmembers won’t face consequences.
“We are hopeful that the inquiry will come out that the seafarers end up clean,” Serang said. “As of now, the reports are that it was purely a weather-related incident.”
The Ever Given was traveling faster than the speed limit of the Suez Canal before getting stuck, Bloomberg reported. Initial investigations suggested the ship became beached due to high winds and ruled out any mechanical or engine failures.
The union secretary also said the Ever Given’s crew will continue to get paid even as the ship waits inspection in the Great Bitter Lake to determine if it can continue to its port of call.
“Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement is a company of repute,” Serang said, “and the company and union have an agreement in place. All the things will be taken care of and there is no cause to worry whatsoever.”
The owners of the Ever Given recently filed a lawsuit in the High Court of London, The Lawyer reported. According to a spokesperson for Evergreen Marine Corporation, the ship’s operators, the filing is in relation to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 and relates to liability and compensation claims related to the beached ship.
The preemptive lawsuit was filed to limit the potential damages faced by the owners of the Ever Given and was not filed in retaliation against the ship’s crew, The Maritime Executive reported.
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