Egypt frees the ship that blocked the Suez Canal after 3 months of waiting
ISMAILIA, Egypt – After three months of impoundment in a lake in the Suez Canal, the giant container ship Ever Given was allowed to resume sea after Egyptian authorities signed a compensation agreement with the owner on Wednesday of the ship.
The size of the contract was not disclosed. The Suez Canal Authority had asked for compensation of $ 550 million, while Shoei Kisen, the Japanese owner of the vessel, responded with $ 150 million.
The SCA initially asked for $ 916 million to pay for the cost of removing Ever Given from the banks of the canal, as well as for the “loss of reputation.” But the ship’s insurer, UK Club, immediately disagreed with the accusations.
The SCA’s claims were “largely unsubstantiated and had no detailed justification,” UK Club said.
Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal on March 23, blocking traffic in the main shipping lane for six days. By the time the SCA freed the vessel with dredging vessels and tugs, a backlog of 422 vessels was idling at both ends of the canal.
After the indemnification agreement was signed, SCA chairman Osama Rabie told reporters the amount could not be disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement. However, Shoei Kisen will give SCA a tug with a towing capacity of 75 tonnes as part of the compensation, according to Rabie.
During the press conference, Rabie repeatedly denied that the SCA shared responsibility for the crash and blamed the captain of the Ever Given. Camp Shoei Kisen challenged this determination of responsibility, pointing out that the SCA pilots had helped guide the vessel.
The Suez Canal, which Egypt nationalized in 1956, generates annual revenues equivalent to 2% of the country’s gross domestic product. When Ever Given was released from the banks of the canal in March, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on social media that “the Egyptians have succeeded in ending the crisis”.
The Egyptian government in May revealed a plan to extend the southern part of the canal to prevent the accident from happening again, but an investigation report into its causes has yet to be released.
An Egyptian court ordered Ever Given’s detention for three months, while the SCA and Shoei Kisen negotiated compensation. The container ship remained anchored at the Great Amer Lake near the town of Ismailia. Because the cargo was not delivered, the decision made shippers and insurance companies aware of the risks of traveling through the Suez Canal.
The Ever Given incident blocked a major artery between Europe and Asia, putting pressure on the supply chain. Although the ships directly stopped by the traffic jam were able to pass within five days of the reopening of the canal, the major European ports felt the fallout. Considerable time passed before conditions returned to normal.