Egypt has impounded the Ever Given — the massive container ship that blocked the Suez Canal and disrupted global commerce for days — while officials negotiate a hefty compensation payment with the boat’s owner, reports say.
An Egyptian court allowed the Suez Canal Authority to seize the ship until the Japanese firm that owns the vessel forks over $900 million for last month’s traffic jam, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported Tuesday.
That amount accounts for the cost of moving the 400-meter-long ship after it ran aground along with costs for lost transit fees and stalled traffic that piled up during the six-day blockage, according to the Associated Press.
Ship-leasing firm Shoei Kisen Kaisha is disputing 90 percent of that amount in negotiations with Egyptian officials, Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie told local media.
People watch as the container ship ‘Ever Given’ is refloated, unblocking the Suez Canal on March 29, 2021 in Suez, Egypt.Getty Images“They do not want to pay anything,” Rabie told a state-run TV network Monday.
He also said the canal had suffered “great moral damage” in addition to the financial costs of the debacle.
Shoei Kisen told news outlets that the Ever Given had been seized and that the canal had made a claim for compensation, but said negotiations were ongoing.
Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, announced on March 25, 2021 that traffic through the Suez Canal had been suspended indefinitely.Alamy Stock Photo“They are still talking to us. So we will continue negotiations on compensation,” company spokesperson Ryu Murakoshi told The Wall Street Journal.
Rabie previously estimated that Egypt lost roughly $1 billion as a result of the snafu that brought hundreds of ships to a standstill and held up billions of dollars worth of goods.
The Ever Given — which was carrying more than $3.5 billion in cargo when it ran aground March 23 — is now sitting in the Bitter Lakes near the canal’s southern terminus while officials probe the incident, according to Al-Ahram.
A “Welcome to Egypt” sign can be seen across the Suez Canal on March 30, 2021 in Ismailia, Egypt.Getty ImagesCrews managed to free the Ever Given on March 29 after shipments of animals, consumer goods and even sex toys were reportedly caught up in the ordeal.
Shoei Kisen has apologized for the mess. But Evergreen Marine Corp. — the Taiwanese firm that chartered the Ever Given and whose name was plastered on the boat’s hull — reportedly doesn’t expect to foot the bill and denied responsibility for delays for the cargo it was carrying.
With Post wires