The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has visited a Shoei Kisen Kaisha containership that was detained over its blockage of the Suez Canal amid concerns over the welfare of its 25 Indian crew members.
The 20,388-teu Ever Given (built 2018) was held by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) after the government body filed a $916m insurance claim for the six-day grounding and salvage of the vessel last month.
The National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), an ITF affiliate, said it will be giving its full support to the men during the detention.
The ITF visited the crew amid concerns that they would be caught in the middle of long-running negotiations between the SCA and Shoei Kisen’s insurer, the UK P&I Club.
The SCA has said the crew will be unable to leave the vessel until its claim is settled.
UK P&I’s assessment of losses is substantially below the SCA’s $916m claim.
The protection and indemnity club said: “The P&I aspects of the claim are relatively modest, with the exception of a claim for loss of reputation, which is disputed.”
UK P&I said it is continuing negotiations “in good faith”.
The 25 Indian crew are employed by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.
“The crew on board remain in good health and good spirits, fulfilling their duties to the highest of standards," the company said.
“BSM is in regular contact with the crew and has offered support to the seafarers’ families. The crew’s continued professionalism and resilience during this period is greatly appreciated.”
NUSI secretary general Abdulgani Serang said he had spoken to the crew.
“The captain and the crew on board stated that there was no problem regarding wages, food or provisions. They fully understand the situation,” Serang said.
He said the second engineer and electrician have been allowed to go home and will be replaced. He said this is a sign of “positive support” from the Egyptian authorities toward the crew.
“The crew are keen to resume sailing soon,” he said.
The Ever Given grounded in the Suez Canal on 23 March, blocking the transit of around 400 vessels. It was refloated six days later.