Ever Given ship that blocked Suez Canal to be released | News | DW | 05.07.2021

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Ever Given ship that blocked Suez Canal to be released

Egyptian officials are set to release the Panama-flagged Ever Given ship at a special ceremony following a deal with the ship's owners and insurers. The vessel was seized after it had blocked the Suez Canal.

Ever Given anchored in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake after being removed from the Suez Canal

The Ever Given ship was stuck in the Suez Canal in March, blocking billions worth of cargo for six days

The Ever Given container ship, impounded by Egypt after it blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week, will be released on Wednesday following an agreement with its owners and insurers, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Sunday.

The canal authority said a ceremony would be held on July 7 to mark the signing of an agreement with the owners and "the departure of the ship."

The 400-meter (1,312 feet) long mega-ship was passing through a single-lane portion of the Suez Canal on March 23 when it veered off course and got stuck diagonally across the canal during a sandstorm.

It remained wedged there for six days, blocking a vital route between Europe and Asia, and disrupting global trade.

Why was the ship retained?

After the ship was finally dislodged, it was held by the canal authority which sought compensation from the ship's Japanese owners for lost revenue and the cost of salvaging it.

The canal authority reported that revenue lost during the time that the Ever Given was stuck amounted to $12-15 million (€10-12.6 million) a day.

Maritime data company Lloyd's List said in April that the blockage held up an estimated $9.6 billion worth of cargo each day.

What do we know about the deal?

Last week, SCA chief Osama Rabie said that Egypt signed a non-disclosure agreement with the owners of Ever Given as the final settlement was being finalized.

Initially, the canal authority has sought $900 million in compensation to cover lost revenue, salvage efforts, and damage to reputation. But the amount was later publicly lowered to $550 million.

"We are pleased to announce that... good progress has been made and a formal solution agreed," said Faz Peermohamed, a member of the London-based Stann Marine law firm which represents owner Shoei Kisen and its insurers.

"Preparations for the release of the vessel will be made and an event marking the agreement will be held at the Authority's headquarters in Ismailia in due course," Peermohamed said.

The lawyer did not give details of the settlement.

SCA chairman Rabie said the canal will receive a tugboat with a pulling capacity of 75 tonnes as part of the settlement.

"We preserved the rights of the authority in full, preserved our relationship with the company and also political relations with Japan," he told a private TV channel on Sunday evening.

How much money does SCA bring in?

According to official figures, the SCA earned Egypt just over $5.7 billion of revenue in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Despite the Ever Given accident, the canal's revenue in the first six months of 2021 stood at $3 billion, an increase of 8.8% compared to the same period last year.

adi/dj (AFP, Reuters)

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