Egypt’s Suez Canal declares emergency state ahead of Ever Given crossing

Zeinab El-Gundy , Saturday 11 Dec 2021

Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) declared a state of emergency ahead of the Ever Given crossing of the international waterway on Saturday. The vessel earned fame after blocking navigation in the canal for six days in March.

Ever Given
A file photo of Ship Ever Given, one of the world s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal, Egypt March 29, 2021 (Photo: Reuters)

The SCA assigned two veteran Suez Canal guides and two tugboats to accompany the mega container vessel from the front and back throughout its trip in the canal. 

The ship is also being accompanied in its 10-hour transit into the Mediterranean Sea by the South Red Sea fleet.

This is the second time the gigantic vessel crosses the Suez Canal after blocking navigation in the Suez Canal. The first time the Japanese-owned cargo vessel passed through the canal after the crisis was on 19 August. 

This is also the 23rd time the Panama-flagged vessel crosses the Suez Canal since its manufacture in 2018.

The Ever Given ran aground and blocked Egypt’s Suez Canal in March for six days until it was refloated on 29 March by a fleet of Egyptian tugboats and diggers.

In July, Egypt allowed the Japanese-owned ship to leave Egyptian waters, where the vessel had been seized for around 100 days, after signing a settlement agreement with the shipowner.

The settlement followed a legal dispute where Egypt asked for $550 million in compensation, down from $916 million, to cover salvage efforts, reputational damage, and lost revenue.

The actual value of the compensation Egypt has received as per the settlement and the terms of the agreement have been kept confidential, but Egyptian officials said the deal was satisfactory and preserved both parties’ mutual interests.

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