Ever Given, the ship that blocked Suez Canal, all set to release as legal dispute ends

CAIRO: The 200,000-tonne massive container, the Ever Given, impounded by Egyptian authorities after it blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week is all set to release on Wednesday following an agreement between its owners and insurers, the Suez Canal Authority announced Sunday.

Reports in international media quoting SCA officials said a formal agreement has been made in a compensation dispute, and the canal authority confirmed the vessel would be allowed to sail on Wednesday. The owners of the giant ship have reportedly agreed to pay $540 million to Suez Canal Authority in compensation, reports cited.

The state-owned authority which owns, operates, and maintains the 120 meters long man-made Suez Canal (SCA) held the giant vessel and its crew since it was dislodged on March 29 this year.

The canal authority sought compensation from the ship’s owners over the massive loss of revenue and the cost of salvaging it. Officials of SCA claimed that revenue lost during the blockage amounted around $12-15 million per day. Another maritime data company Lloyd’s List claimed that the blockage held up an estimated $9.6 billion worth of cargo each day.

Faz Peermohamed, a representative of Ever Given owner Shoei Kisen and its insurers, in a statement on Sunday said ‘Preparations for the release of the giant vessel will be made and an event marking the agreement will be held at the Authority’s headquarters in Ismailia in due course.’

Meanwhile, the officials did not reveal any details about the deal while it confirmed that the settlement will be inked in a ceremony in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia on July 07.

Earlier in June, Suez Canal Authority Chief Osama Rabie announced that both parties agreed on a non-disclosure agreement until the signing of the final contract. The canal will receive a tug boat as part of a settlement, Rabie said without mentioning any other details.

The 200,000-tonne giant vessel was earlier stuck diagonally across the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes during a sandstorm on March 23, blocking the key trade artery for almost six days before it got salvaged. The economic damage was estimated to be in the billions with much of the global supply line brought to a sudden stop.

At least 12 percent of the total global trade comes to a halt in the Suez Canal that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Europe and Asia. Many of the ships were forced to take the much longer route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip, which consumed additional fuel, extra time, besides other issues.

The 400-meter long vessel was freed after a major salvage operation involving a flotilla of powerful tug boats and dredging vessels that shifted an estimated 30,000 cubic meters of mud and sand.

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