Luster Maritime S.A. (defendants/appellants) & anr v Smit Salvage B.V. & ors (claimants/respondents)

Wednesday 7 February 2024

This is an appeal against the Order of Andrew Baker J dated 30 March 2023 that ordered and declared that no contract such as is alleged by the Defendants was concluded.

The m.v. Ever Given is a leviathan, She was part of the morning northbound convoy making its way up the southern section of the Suez Canal on Tuesday 23 March 2021. At about 07:40 local time, she grounded 200m or so north of the 151 km mark. That is one of the narrowest, if not the narrowest, sections of the Canal. The grounding blocked the Suez Canal and made headlines around the world.

The first claimant (‘SMIT’) is a leading maritime salvage company. By the time Ever Given refloated, SMIT had a team on board (with onshore support from Holland), and two chartered tugs, ALP Guard and Carlo Magno, contributing to the salvage effort.

The defendants (‘Luster’ and ‘Higaki’) are the co-owners of Ever Given (10% Luster, 90% Higaki). Luster is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Higaki. An associated company, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd (‘SKK’), acts under a contract with Luster as the managing agent for the ship.

The claimants claim salvage under the terms of the International Convention on Salvage 1989 and/or at common law. The claim is denied. The first line of defence is an averment, the burden of proof on which lies with the defendants, that the claimants “provided technical assistance … under a contract concluded on 26 March 2021 … pursuant to which the parties agreed the scope of, and remuneration for, the technical services.”

View hearing:

Part 1

Part 2