Ever Given: Deal agreed to release ship that blocked Suez Canal

Huge vessel disrupted global trade for six days

Matt Mathers
Monday 05 July 2021 16:28
Ever Given ship freed from bank of Suez Canal

Ever Given, the huge container ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal earlier this year, has been allowed by Egypt to sail, after officials agreed on compensation terms with the vessel’s owners and insurers.

The ship was freed at the end of March, six days after it became wedged on the bank of the waterway, bringing traffic on one of the world's busiest trade routes to a standstill.

It is unclear exactly how much compensation has been agreed. Egypt previously demanded $550m (£397m) as compensation for the major disruption caused by the blockage.

Both parties have said the ship will be allowed on Wednesday to leave the Great Bitter Lake, where it has been impounded since being released from the canal.

The head of Egypt's Suez Canal Authority, Lt Gen Osama Rabie, said last month that the parties had agreed on an amount of compensation, but that it would not be made public because of a non-disclosure agreement until the signing of the final contract.

The 400 metre-long (1,312ft) vessel ran aground in the single-lane stretch of the canal on 23 March after a gust of wind blew it off course.

The disagreement over compensation had centred on the amount that the Suez Canal Authority was claiming for salvage of the vessel.

The amount was to cover the salvage operation, and the costs of stalled canal traffic and lost transit fees for the week when the Ever Given blocked the canal.

At first, the Suez Canal Authority demanded $916m in compensation, which was later lowered to $550m.

The two sides have traded blame for the vessel’s grounding, with bad weather, poor decisions on the part of canal authorities, and human and technical error all being given as possible factors.

The six-day blockage disrupted global shipping, with hundreds of ships waiting in place for the canal to be unblocked, while some ships were forced to take the much longer route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa's southern tip, requiring additional fuel and other costs.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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