Egyptian authorities have seized a massive cargo ship which blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week last month, amid a dispute over financial damages. An Egyptian court ordered the vessel’s Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, to pay $900 million in compensation as a result of losses inflicted when the Panamanian-flagged Ever Given prevented marine traffic from transiting through the vital global trade waterway, the state-run Al Ahram news outlet said.
The hefty bill also includes maintenance fees and the costs of the rescue operation. An international salvage operation worked around the clock to dislodge the ship from the banks of the canal, intensifying in both urgency and global attention with each passing day, as ships from around the world, carrying vital fuel and cargo, were prevented from entering the canal. The ship’s insurer for third-party losses, the U. K. P&I Club, said in a statement that the owner received a claim for $916 million, the size of which is “largely unsupported.” It said it was disappointed that the vessel was arrested on Tuesday. The Ever Given was successfully re-floated on March 29 and moved to the nearby Great Bitter Lake to be inspected for seaworthiness and to allow repairs to be carried out. A crew of 25 Indian nationals remain on board the vessel.
The SCA has said compensation is needed to cover losses of transit fees, damage to the waterway during the dredging and salvage efforts, and the cost of equipment and labor. It has calculated that it missed out on about $15 million of transit fees each day.