Egypt court to rule on $916m 'Ever Given' compensation claim over Suez Canal blocking

Suez Canal Authority wants compensation to cover the loss of transit fees and damage to the waterway

Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is banked in the Suez Canal while authorities demand compensation from the owners. Reuters
Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is banked in the Suez Canal while authorities demand compensation from the owners. Reuters

An Egyptian court will decide on a claim by Suez Canal Authority on Sunday against the owner of the massive container ship that blocked the vital waterway for almost a week in March.

The 400-metre Ever Given is owned by Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd and was chartered by Taiwan’s Evergreen Line when it got stuck in the southern end of the waterway for six days.

The Suez Canal Authority wants compensation to cover the loss of transit fees, damage to the waterway during the dredging and salvage efforts and the cost of equipment and labour. Dredging work to extend a second lane of the Suez Canal began last week with hopes to complete it by 2023.

The operator’s legal team has argued it should receive $916 million in compensation.

However, the ship’s insurers have said that amount is too high.

The Egyptian court will also issue a ruling about an appeal by the owners of the ship against a May 4 decision that upheld an order preventing the giant container ship from leaving the country.

The Ever Given is still anchored in the Suez Canal with authorities refusing to allow it to leave the country until a compensation amount is settled.

The Ever Given was on its way to the Dutch port of Rotterdam on March 23 and battled strong winds before it slammed into the bank of a single-lane stretch of the canal.

A massive salvage effort by a flotilla of tugboats, helped by the tides, freed the Panama-flagged Ever Given six days later, ending the crisis, and allowing hundreds of ships in waiting to pass through the canal.

The blockage of the canal forced some ships to take the long alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip, requiring additional fuel and other costs.

Hundreds of other ships waited in place for the blockage to end.

Updated: May 23, 2021 06:04 PM

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