The Suez Canal Authority has granted permission for three crew members of the Ever Given to be relieved as their contracts expire, the vessel’s technical director, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), has confirmed.
BSM today gave its latest update on the status of the vessel and the 25 Indian nationals remaining on board. According to the update, all those on board are “safe, in good health and in good spirits,” with full Internet access to communicate with their families. The ship is also fully stocked with food, “including 20 days of fresh fruits and vegetables, and a resupply of fresh drinking water” that was completed on April 17. All crew wages have also been paid.
Day-to-day operations aboard the Ever Given continue, with the crew conducting routine fire and safety drills along with planned maintenance of the vessel.
At the time of the vessel’s grounding, all crew members on board were within the terms of their contracts, BSM said. “However, delays in the vessel’s departure mean that three crew members must now be relieved,” and the Suez Canal Authority has granted requests to allow the overdue crew to leave the vessel, BSM said.
“The vessel’s minimum crew safety standards will be maintained at all times and the crew members leaving the vessel are being relieved,” BSM said.
The Ever Given has been anchored in the Great Bitter Lake, in the middle of the Suez Canal, since the vessel was refloated on March 29. It is now caught up in a legal dispute as the Suez Canal Authority seeks $916 in compensation from the ship’s Japanese owner.
In early April, the SCA allowed two crew members to leave the vessel for urgent personal reasons.
“Our top priority remains the safety and welfare of our crew. We are in regular contact with them and their families, offering them all necessary support. While we hope that the vessel and her crew will be able to resume their voyage as soon as possible, we are incredibly proud of our captain and crew, who have performed and continue to perform their duties to the highest standard with exceptional professionalism in difficult circumstances,” says Ian Beveridge, BSM’s chief executive officer.
Earlier this month, representatives from the International Transport Workers’ Federation visited the vessel for a welfare check where they were able to speak to the crew and confirm that all crew members remain safe and in good health. The Mission to Seafarers was also able to make a visit on board to provide emotional and spiritual support to those on board.