Egypt has seized the container ship barring the Suez Canal in March, according to the vessel's owner on Tuesday. This is during a dispute over the amount of compensation the nation is owed after the weeklong shutdown of the waterway.
Egypt Seizes Ever Given
The action pressurizes Ever Given's Japanese owner to discuss a settlement that Egyptian authorities are alleging should be an estimated $1 billion for damage to the canal. It also lost business while the stuck ship barred an important artery for global trade.
One court in Ismailia granted the appeal regarding the Ever Given vessel at the instruction of the Suez Canal Authority. It was not reported who the SCA desires compensation from.
According to Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, the hulking Ever Given would not be permitted to leave Egypt until a compensation amount is settled on with the vessel's owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha. According to him, "The vessel is now officially impounded. They do not want to pay anything," reported Financial Review.
The move highlights the legal complications after Ever Given's grounding on March 23. This led to the canal being closed for nearly a week and roiled shipping markets. Logjams are slated to continue in the future weeks at major ports, including Rotterdam and Singapore, due to disruptions to schedules.
The Taiwanese-operated, Japanese-owned, and Panama-flagged vessel was diagonally stuck in the narrow but important global trade artery in a sandstorm on March 23. This set forth a prolonged a six-day-long effort by Egyptian international salvage specialists and personnel to dislodge it.
Maritime data company Lloyd's List stated the blockage had held up roughly a $9.6 billion worth of cargo daily between Europe and Asia. The canal is economically vital to Egypt. The country lost from $12 to $15 million in revenues for each day the waterway was closed, said the canal authority.
According to Rabie, the compensation figure was calculated based on "the losses incurred by the grounded vessel as well as the flotation and maintenance costs, according to a court ruling handed down by the Ismailia Economic Court." Rabie did not explicitly cite the Japanese owners Shoei Kisen Kaisha. However, according to a different source at the SCA on Tuesday, deals over damages between insurance firms, that company, and the canal authority were underway, reported The Business Times.
The waterway's manager seized the vessel upon an order from an Egyptian court. The move was compared to an arrest. Ryu Murakoshi, a spokesman for the Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., "They are still talking to us. So we will continue negotiations on compensation," reported The Wall Street Journal.
The SCA has stated compensation is required to cover losses of transit fees, the cost of equipment and labor, and damage to the waterway during the dredging and salvage efforts. It has calculated it missed out on an estimated $15 million of transit fees every day.
No immediate comment was taken from the vessel's owner. Rabei remarked the order to impound the vessel was issued on Monday by a court in Ismailia. The vessel's staff has been informed on Tuesday.