Suez Canal, Ever Given owners reach compensation deal

Spectators watch as the Ever Given container ship moves along the Suez Canal towards Ismailia after being freed from the canal bank in Suez, Egypt, on March 29, 2021. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)

Egyptian officials and owners of the giant Ever Given vessel that blocked the Suez Canal earlier this year have reached a preliminary deal over compensation, according to the ship’s representatives.

“Following extensive discussions with the Suez Canal Authority’s negotiating committee over the past few weeks, an agreement in principle between the parties has been reached,” Stann Marine Ltd., a London-based law firm for the Ever Given’s owners and insurers, said in an emailed statement. 

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The 400-meter-long Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container vessels, ran aground in the southern part of the canal in late March, blocking it for six days and roiling shipping markets

The two sides will finalize an agreement “as soon as possible,” after which arrangements will be made to let the ship leave Egypt, Stann said. It did not disclose any financial details.

The ship’s insurer for third-party losses, the UK P&I Club, confirmed the development in a separate statement.

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The 400-meter-long Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container vessels, ran aground in the southern part of the canal in late March, blocking it for six days and roiling shipping markets. The SCA originally demanded more than US$900 million to cover the loss of transit fees, damage to the waterway during the salvage efforts, and the cost of equipment and labor. It later reduced the amount to around US$550 million.

Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the owner, and the ship’s insurers initially offered US$150 million.

After being freed on March 29, the Ever Given was sailed to the Great Bitter Lake — about halfway along the canal — and has since been kept there by Egyptian authorities.