Egypt Seizes Ever Given, Demands $900M for Suez Canal Blockage

Egypt Seizes Ever Given, Demands $900M for Suez Canal Blockage

The Japanese container ship ‘Ever Given’ owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha which blocked the Suez Canal after it ran aground for almost a week in March, is now being held by Suez Canal authorities while they pursue over $900 million in compensation for the mishap from the ship’s owners, reports the NY Post.

The Ever Given has been in a lake separating two sections of the Suez Canal since it was dislodged on March 29, as the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) conducts investigations.

The Suez Canal is a manmade sea-level waterway located in Egypt, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.  It opened in November 1869, after 10 years of construction. The canal reduces shipping travel costs because ships traveling between Europe and South Asia do not need to travel around Africa and can instead cut across the Suez’s narrow passage, shaving about 4400 miles off the trip.

A new stretch of the canal opened in 2015, BBC News reported.

Egyptian Courts have authorized the impoundment of the Ever Given and its crew, pending receipt of a compensation payment from the ship’s owners, reports the NY Post.

The $900 million sought by the Suez Canal Authority includes the cost of dislodging the 400-meter-long ship, lost transit fees, opportunity costs such as stalled ship traffic occurring during the nearly 6 day blockage of the canal, as well as moral injury, according to the Associated Press.

Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie told local media the canal had suffered “great moral damage” in addition to the financial costs of the debacle, reports the NY Post.

Rabie’s prior estimates were in the $1 billion range for total damages.

Ship owners say 90 percent of that amount is in dispute, Rabie told local media, “They do not want to pay anything,” Rabie told a state-run TV network Monday, reports the NY Post.

“They are still talking to us. So we will continue negotiations on compensation,” Shoei Kisen spokesperson Ryu Murakoshi told The Wall Street Journal.

While negotiations continue, Shoei Kisen has apologized for the mess. “We would like to apologize to all parties affected by this incident, including the ships traveling and planning to travel through Suez Canal” reported AP.

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