Egypt has seized the Ever Given and demanded over $900 million in compensation for the blockage the container ship caused at the Suez Canal last month, according to CNN.
An Egyptian court ruled that Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the ship’s owner, needed to cover the damages resulting from stalled marine traffic, maintenance fees and rescue-operation costs.
The Ever Given ran aground on March 23 after it was caught in a 40-knot winds amid a sandstorm. The 224,000-ton vessel, operated by Taiwan-based shipping company Evergreen Marine Corp., had been carrying cargo between Asia and Europe.
At the time of the incident, Lloyd’s List estimated that the blockage would cause about $9.6 billion worth of daily marine traffic. At least 185 ships, including 10 tankers that were carrying 13 million barrels of crude oil, were left in a standstill as a result.
“We are determined to keep on working hard to resolve this situation as soon as possible,” Shoei Kisen Kaisha said in a statement, following news of the Ever Given’s predicament. “We would like to apologize to all parties affected by this incident, including the ships traveling and planning to travel through Suez Canal.”
By the time the container ship was freed from the canal’s bank on March 29, more than 400 ships had been stranded. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has since seized the ship’s cargo and detained the ship’s crew of 25 nationals, despite the fact that the ship itself had been later declared safe for passage through the canal.
“The SCA’s decision to arrest the vessel is extremely disappointing,” Ian Beveridge, CEO of the ship’s technical manager Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), told CNN in a statement. “From the outset, BSM and the crew on board have cooperated fully with all authorities, including the SCA and their respective investigations into the grounding… BSM’s primary goal is a swift resolution to this matter that will allow the vessel and crew to depart the Suez Canal.”
One of the Ever Given’s insurers, UK Club, also told the outlet that it was in talks over the SCA’s claim for $916 million.
“Despite the magnitude of the claim, which was largely unsupported, the owners and their insurers have been negotiating in good faith with the SCA,” UK Club said in a statement, adding that on April 12, “a carefully considered and generous offer was made to the SCA to settle their claim.” They also argued that the SCA did not provide a “detailed justification for this extraordinarily large claim.”