After being stuck in the Suez Canal for over three months, the 20,000 TEU containership Ever Given is poised to leave the waterway as the canal authority and the owners of the vessel reach a final deal on compensation.
“The UK Club is pleased to announce that, following the agreement in principle between the parties, and after further meetings with the Suez Canal Authority’s (SCA) negotiating committee and numerous court hearings, good progress has been made and a formal solution has now been agreed,” UK P&I Club said in an update.
“Preparations for the release of the vessel will be made and an event marking the agreement will be held at the authority’s headquarters in Ismailia in due course.”
The two sides came to terms about the compensation for the ship’s grounding in the waterway at the end of June after a months-long tug of war on the height of the claim and shifting of blame for the incident.
Initially, the Suez Canal Authority sought compensation worth $916 million, which the owners turned down as too high. Subsequently, the claim was reduced to $550 million, provided that $200 million is paid in advance, while the remaining $350 million is paid as letters of guarantee.
The money is intended to cover the costs incurred by the salvage operation, as well as losses resulting from the canal’s six-day blockage.
Final details on the settlement amount have not been disclosed.
The SCA said that a signing ceremony would be held in the city of Ismailia on Wednesday when the ship would be allowed to leave the Great Bitter Lakes, the Associated Press reports.
The Panama-flagged, containership is owned by Japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha and was chartered by Taiwanese Evergreen Marine Corporation when it got grounded on 23 March, blocking the waterway for six days and causing a massive gridlock for the global trade.
On 29 March, the ship was refloated and towed to the Great Bitter Lake region, enabling SCA to resume commercial operations and clear the backlog.
Ever Given, with 25 sailors on board, was arrested on April 13, 2021, after negotiations on compensation hit a wall.
World Maritime News