The Ever Given, the ship which blocked the Suez Canal last month for a period of six days, has been impounded by the Egyptian authorities in the wake of a financial dispute with the ship’s owners.
Head of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie stated that the Ever Given would not be permitted to leave Egypt until a compensation agreement was reached with the vessel’s Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. The impounding came after a local court order allowing Egyptian authorities to hold the ship.
According to AP News, when Rabie was asked if the ship’s owner was at fault he agreed, stating “Of course, yes.”
He declared in a television interview that “the ship is now officially impounded,” and in regards to the compensation dispute said the ship’s owners “do not want to pay anything.”
Earlier this month Rabie announced that Egypt aims to claim more than USD $1 billion in compensation following the incident, claiming that compensation is necessary not only for the revenue lost from toll payments of ships that were unable to pass through the canal, but also for the costs of tugboats and other specialist equipment used in the operation to free the ship.
“It is the right of Egypt to be compensated,” he explained in a phone interview with the Egyptian television Sada el-Balad. “We will not forfeit our right.”
These updates follow news that the owner of the Ever Given has filed a lawsuit against its Taiwanese operator, Evergreen, as reported by The Lawyer earlier this month.
The Ever Given, a so-called ‘megaship’, was enroute from China to the Netherlands when it became lodged sideways across the canal, blocking one of the world’s most critical trade routes.
It was freed six days later after a rescue operation involving tugboats, dredgers and a Dutch specialist team. It was initially believed to be strong winds and low visibility from a passing sandstorm that caused the crisis, but an investigation is currently underway to determine exactly how the ship became stuck.
The blocking of the Suez Canal had caused more than 300 ships to be stranded on both sides of the Suez Canal, resulting in global economic losses. According to the Suez Canal Authority, more than USD $9 billion of goods a day were being blocked from moving through the Suez Canal, with Egypt losing at least USD $14 million in revenue a day.