The owners and insurers of the giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week earlier this year have reached an agreement in principle on their dispute with the canal authorities, representatives of the two said on Wednesday. parts.
Stann Marine, lawyers representing the ship’s owners and insurers, and a spokeswoman for the Suez Canal Authority have both confirmed the development.
Neither said what the deal would entail, but the Suez Canal Authority said more details would be released later.
The dispute is over the amount of compensation claimed by the Suez Canal Authority for the rescue of the Ever Given vessel, which ran aground in March, blocking the crucial waterway for six days. Specialist tugs and dredges eventually freed the 400-meter-long (quarter-mile) cargo ship carrying some $ 3.5 billion in cargo.
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The money would cover the rescue operation, the costs of blocked traffic on the channel, and transit charges lost for the week Ever Given blocked the channel.
Initially, the Suez Canal Authority demanded $ 916 million in compensation, which was later lowered to $ 550 million.
Since its release, the Japanese ship, flying the Panamanian flag, which carries goods between Asia and Europe, has been ordered by authorities to remain in a reservoir in the middle of the canal, with most of its crew. , as the owner and the authority of the channel is trying to settle the compensation dispute.
In a statement, the UK Club, an insurer to shipowners, the Japanese company Shoei Kisen, said it was working with other insurers and the channel authority to sign a final agreement “as soon as possible”.
“Once the formalities have been completed, arrangements will be made for the release of the vessel,” the statement said.
The two sides exchanged blame for the grounding of the ship, with bad weather, bad decisions by the canal authorities and human and technical errors all being dismissed as possible factors.
The six-day blockade disrupted global navigation. Hundreds of ships waited on the spot for the canal to be unlocked, while some ships were forced to take the much longer route around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, requiring additional fuel and other costs.
About 10 percent of world trade passes through the canal, a key source of foreign exchange for Egypt. Some 19,000 ships crossed the canal last year, according to official figures.