CAIRO: Suez Canal chiefs on Tuesday implemented an Egyptian court order to seize the giant cargo ship that blocked the waterway for almost a week in March.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is claiming $916 million in compensation for lost revenue, damage to the canal, equipment and labor used to free the ship, and reputational harm.
The Ever Given container ship, owned by the Japanese cargo fleet operator Shoei Kisen, has been in a lake between two sections of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29, while the SCA carries out an investigation.
Yumi Shinohara, deputy manager of Shoei Kisen’s fleet management department, said the SCA had made a compensation claim and the ship had not been given clearance to leave.
The ship’s insurers, UK Club, said they were disappointed. “Despite the magnitude of the claim … the owners and their insurers have been negotiating in good faith with the SCA,” a spokesman said on Tuesday.
“On April 12, a carefully considered and generous offer was made to the SCA to settle their claim. We are disappointed by the SCA’s subsequent decision to arrest the vessel today.”
The SCA said a court order had been issued for the ship to be held, and negotiations over the compensation claim were still taking place.
International trade was thrown into chaos when the 400-meter vessel ran aground on March 23, with 18,300 containers on board. Nearly a third of the world’s shipping container volume passes through the canal. Specialist rescue teams took six days to free the vessel, delaying the passage of more than 400 ships and causing others to divert around Africa.