Suez Canal: Egypt agrees to release Ever Green

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The Egyptian government has finally decided to free the giant container ship, Ever Given that blocked the Suez Canal in March, more than 3 months after the incident occurred.

This ends months of the arrest of the ship by the economic court of Ismailia. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) plans to hold a ceremony in Ismailia, where its headquarters are located on Wednesday to celebrate “the signing of the agreement” and the “departure of the ship”.

The decision follows the signing of an agreement between Egyptian maritime authorities and the Japanese owner of the ship, Shoei Kisen Kaisha. The latter agreed to compensate Egyptian authorities on Sunday. Details of the amount were not made public after several weeks of negotiations.

But Cairo had initially claimed $916 million as compensation, before revising its claims downwards to $600 million and then to $550 million.

In addition to the compensation, the president of the Suez Canal Authority, Osama Rabie said Sunday that Egypt would receive, a tugboat with a capacity of 75 tons from the owner of the Ever Given.

The clearing operations, which lasted six days, required more than a dozen tugboats, as well as dredgers to dig up the bottom of the canal.

The Ever Given was then directed to the large Amer Lake, in the centre of the canal, by the Egyptian authorities who claimed compensation from the shipowner for the loss of earnings during the incident, the cost of salvage and the damage to the canal.

According to the SCA, Egypt lost 12 to 15 million dollars per day of closure. In addition, one SCA employee died during the salvage operations, according to the Egyptian authority, and the shoreline coating was damaged.

In total, 422 ships loaded with 26 million tons of cargo were blocked. According to the insurer Allianz, the losses reached six to ten billion dollars per day for the world maritime trade.

Among its main sources of revenue, the passage of the canal brought about 5.7 billion dollars to Egypt in 2019-2020. Nearly 19,000 ships passed through the canal in 2020, according to the SCA, an average of 51.5 ships per day.

Suzan O/AFN

 

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