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'Danger They Will be Scapegoats': Indian Crew of Ship Stuck in Suez Canal May Face Legal Charges

FILE PHOTO: A container ship which was hit by strong wind and ran aground is pictured in Suez Canal

FILE PHOTO: A container ship which was hit by strong wind and ran aground is pictured in Suez Canal

Both the Indian government and the seafarers’ organisations are concerned about the legal issues that the crew may face, including the possibility of criminal charges.

The next big concern for India after container ship ‘Ever Given’ refloated is what action the Suez Canal Authority may take against the 25 crew members. According to a report by Times of India, both the Indian government and the seafarers’ organisations are concerned about the legal issues that the crew may face, including the possibility of criminal charges.

The report quoted sources saying that they could be placed under house arrest until an investigation is completed into the cause of the accident. The ship management, however, has not explained anything about the legal procedures the crew will have to go through. “There is a clear danger that the crew will be made scapegoats,” a senior person associated with the shipping industry told Times of India.

Captain Sanjay Prashar, member,National Shipping Board (NSB), told TOI, “Firstly, it has to be ascertained as to how the giant ship ran aground. Facts can be checked by examining and listening to conversation in the ship voyage data recorder and one can come to an understanding as to what caused the mishap.”

The container ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal for the last six days is now afloat — thanks to a supermoon that brought high tides.

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Satellite footage from MarineTraffic website showed that the ship’s bow had been wrested from the shore. Authorities had brought two more powerful tugboats into the canal, bringing the total to 14 tugs working on moving the ship.

Authorities are investigating how the Ever Given became wedged in the canal. Initial reports blamed high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. However, over the weekend, Egyptian officials said human error may have contributed to the ship running aground.

The unprecedented shutdown had threatened to disrupt oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Middle East and raised fears of extended delays, good shortages and rising costs for consumers.

first published:March 30, 2021, 11:18 IST