Evergreen Marine Corp has dismissed a report that it was being sued by Shoei Kisen, the Japanese owners of the Ever Given. Evergreen, the charterer of the vessel, said that it was just “an involved party” listed in the lawsuit.
India’s Business Insider had reported that Higaki Sangyo Kaisha Ltd and Luster Maritime SA had filed a lawsuit against Evergreen at the High Court in London. Evergreen chartered the Panama-flagged vessel from Japan’s Shoei Risen Kaisha Ltd. The newspaper appeared to have misinterpreted the form submitted to the UK court.
The submission looks to have listed two defendants in the case — Evergreen Marine and all other persons claiming or being entitled to claim damages.
This would appear to have been form ADM1 (Admiralty claim in rem), filed last week by Marine specialist legal firm HFW. (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-adm1-claim-form-admiralty-claim-in-rem)
Evergreen said that on April 1st it was notified by the shipowners’ lawyers that they would apply to the British court for the limitation of liability based on the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims.
“Although the shipowners listed Evergreen as a defendant in a form in the lawsuit, they did not sue us. We were listed as a relevant party in the case. It would not make sense if the shipowners sued us. We rented the vessel, but we do not operate it. We pay the shipowners to operate the vessel, and even the crew were assigned by the owners”, said Evergreen.
Evergreen has not decided whether it would be seeking compensation from the shipowners, as the cause of the incident was not yet clear.
Evergreen Marine president Eric Hsieh told an investors’ conference in Taipei on April 1st that the company is not responsible for Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal, as its responsibility is to ensure the safety of the goods onboard: “There is almost no chance that we will be sought to pay compensation”, he said