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

·2-min read
Ever Given: Deal agreed to release ship that blocked Suez Canal
 (AP)
(AP)

Ever Given, the huge container ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal earlier this year, will be released by Egypt after officials agreed on compensation terms with the vessel's owners and insurers.

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

It's unclear exactly how much compensation has been agreed. Egypt previously demanded $550m (£397m) in return for the major disruption the ship's blocking of the canal caused.

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

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

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

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

The money would cover the salvage operation, costs of stalled canal traffic and lost transit fees for the week the Ever Given blocked the canal.

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

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 thrown out as possible factors.

The six-day blockage disrupted global shipping. Hundreds of ships waited 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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