CAIRO: The Suez Canal Authority has launched an investigation into the giant cargo ship Ever Given’s grounding that it says will cover events before, during and after the accident.
The 430-meter-long container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal, halting maritime trade in the vital shipping channel for almost a week.
The carrier struck the eastern bank of the narrow canal on March 23 and became wedged diagonally across the channel.
Shipping convoys were allowed through the canal on Monday night after tugs finally pulled the Ever Given free.
Sayed Sheasha, adviser to the authority, said the investigation began on Wednesday and the results will be made public since it is a global issue.
He said the probe will address the question of whether the captain of the ship responded to the instructions of the authority before the ship ran aground.
“We asked for the ship’s data — the black box contains all the information from the start of the crisis until the end,” Sheasha said, adding that the authority will also examine the ship’s response to instructions given before the mishap.
Sheasha said it is expected that the authority will reach an agreement on compensation with the ship within three or four days.
If the ship rejects the result of the investigation, the case will be transferred to a civil court and a decision will be taken to seize the vessel.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi urged people not to jump to conclusions about the investigation. He said the issue has been left to the canal authority and that he will not interfere with it.
Osama Rabie, head of the authority, said that up to 95 ships per day are expected to use the canal by 2023, instead of the current 50 to 60 ships per day.
He said that after the Ever Given’s release 113 ships crossed the canal in less than 24 hours.
The authority plans to clear 422 ships still queuing to use the canal.