Egypt seizes massive cargo vessel that blocked Suez Canal

Marco Green
April 14, 2021

A ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March has not been given clearance to leave the waterway as discussions continue over a compensation claim made to the vessel's owner Shoei Kisen, an official from the Japanese company said on Tuesday.

Egypt recruited an worldwide team to free the Ever Given from the Suez Canal after it became wedged inside the waterway during a sandstorm.

The Japanse owner of the ship, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd told the journal that it hadn't officially heard from the Egyptian authorities.

The Empire State Building-sized cargo ship has not been given clearance to leave the lake off of the canal where it was moved to.

On Thursday, Rabie hadn't revealed what a amount the authorities were seeking as compensation but he'd earlier said that Egypt would demand Dollars 1 billion for the cost of the operation to free the ship- the loss of transit fees-an important source of foreign currency for Egypt-and other costs from the blocking of the canal.

The grounding of the ship and the intensive salvage efforts are also reported to have resulted in significant damage to the canal.

SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said on Egyptian TV last week that theEver Given would not leave until the investigation was finished and compensation paid.

But that was achieved at a cost of over $8 billion, without significantly increasing revenues from the canal.

The Suez Canal earned Egypt just over $5.7 billion in the 2019/20 fiscal year, according to official figures.

Egyptian authorities have presented the dislodging of the ship as a vindication of the country's engineering and salvage capabilities, but observers point also to the crucial role played by global salvage experts.

He said prosecutors in Ismailia also opened a separate investigation into what led the Ever Given to run aground.

The news was announced by Rabei in a phone interview with government-run broadcaster Sada Elbalad on March 31.

The Panama-flagged MV Ever Given, which is carrying cargo worth more than $3.5 billion, is owned by the Japanese firm Shoei Kisen and operated by a Taiwanese Evergreen Marine Corp.

He said the Canal Authority would demand the $1 billion (£722 million) sum in compensation for the six-day delay. Negotiations over the compensation claim were still taking place, according to one of the sources.

The Ever Given has been in a lake separating two sections of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29, as the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) conducts investigations.

Two Egyptian canal pilots were aboard when the ship got stuck.

About 15 percent of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is an important source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt.

When asked whether the ship's owner was at fault, he said: "Of course, yes".

The compensation sum includes the costs of the salvage operation, transit fees that were lost and the costs associated with stopping all traffic in the canal.

The vessel had crashed into the bank of a single-lane stretch of the canal about 6km north of the southern entrance, near the city of Suez.

The other options would be to sail around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope, a voyage that could take around 24 days to complete, or to use the Arctic shipping root, which would add 35 days to the trip.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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