The owner of the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for six days earlier this year has reached an agreement with Egyptian authorities that will lead to the release of the vessel.
The UK P&I Club, a mutual insurer involved in the negotiations, said on Wednesday that “an agreement in principle” had been reached between the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and the Ever Given’s Japanese owner on a compensation deal. The value of the settlement has not been disclosed.
“We are now working with the SCA to finalise a signed settlement agreement as soon as possible,” said Faz Peermohamed, director of Stann Marine, a law firm that represents the owners and insurers of the 400 metre long ship.
“Once the formalities have been dealt with, arrangements for the release of the vessel will be made,” he added.
The 220,000-tonne vessel became stuck in the global trade artery for six days at the end of March, causing weeks of serious disturbance to global shipping networks.
Egypt has held the vessel for almost three months since the incident. The authorities initially demanded payment as high as $900m to compensate for losses in transit fees incurred due to the closure and salvage costs, as well as damage to the infrastructure and its reputation.
The ship’s owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, and its insurers initially offered $150m, while the SCA had reduced its demands to about $600m. At the time of the incident, Refinitiv, a data provider, estimated that lost transit fees totalled less than $100m.
The settlement will bring relief to the owner and those with goods on board, who had been told by maritime service providers to assume their cargo would not be retrievable any time soon and to reorder any products they require.