InternationalEver Given ship forbidden to leave Suez until its owners pay up billions
─── 10:09 Tue, 13 Apr 2021
While the giant Ever Given container ship might have been freed from the banks of the Suez Canal, it still finds itself stuck, embroiled in a row of who should pay for dislodging it from the waterway.
Egyptian authorities said that they wouldn't release the massive ship, which was stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week until its owners agree to pay up to $1 billion (R14.6 billion) in compensation.
"The vessel will remain here until investigations are complete and compensation is paid," Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, who leads the Suez Canal Authority, told a local news station, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"We hope for a speedy agreement," he said, adding that the "minute they agree to compensation, the vessel will be allowed to move."
Rabie said that Egyptian authorities would demand $1 billion (R14.6 billion) to cover the costs of freeing the vessel.
The figure will cover the expense of the equipment and machinery used to clear the way, damage to the canal itself by the dredging, and compensate around 800 people who worked to release the 200,000-ton (181 million kilogram) ship, Rabei said.
It will also refund the costs from the blocking of the canal, which ended up causing an epic traffic jam of more than 400 ships on either side of the channel.
Rabie did not say how exactly he arrived at that figure.
According to London-based financial firm Revenitiv, the Egyptian state lost transit fees worth $95 million (R1.4 billion) because of the blockage.
It is also still unclear who will pay for Egypt's demand for compensation. Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the Japanese owner of the Ever Given, told the Wall Street Journal that it hadn't officially heard from the Egyptian authorities.
Eric Hsieh, the president of the Taiwanese transport company Evergreen Marine Corp, the charterer of Ever Given, said that the company is "free of responsibility from cargo delays" because "it will be covered by insurance," Bloomberg reported.
The 1,300-foot (396 meter) Ever Given made headlines on March 23 when an unexpected wind storm caused it to steer off course and get lodged in the sandbanks of the Suez Canal, disrupting global trade. It was freed six days later.
Egypt has since opened a formal investigation into how the vessel got stuck in the first place.
The ship, its cargo, and the 25-person Indian crew of sailors will remain at anchor in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake until the investigation is over. Earlier this month, authorities told Insider that the crew of the ship is safe and will continue getting paid.
Rabie said that he would prefer to settle the matter of compensation outside of court, although he didn't rule out a lawsuit.
"We could agree on a certain compensation, or it goes to court," he said, according to CNBC. "If they decide to go to court, then the ship should be held."