Chairman of Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie said on Wednesday that a settlement was reached with the Evergreen Marine Corporation concerning its Ever Given ship, which had blocked navigation through the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March.
During a press conference, Rabie witnessed the signing ceremony of the deal between the SCA and the owner of the 400-metre vessel.
Following the inking of the deal, the ship resumed its journey to leave the Suez Canal, heading towards Europe’s largest seaport of Rotterdam following nearly four months of being idle.
It was escorted by two tugboats and guided by two senior transit guides while heading across the Great Bitter Lake and all the way through the navigational course of the Suez Canal.
On Tuesday, the Ismailiya Economic Court agreed to lift its impound order against the giant Ever Given ship, allowing it to leave the canal on Wednesday as per the request of the SCA so it can continue its voyage to Rotterdam.
The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, ran aground diagonally across the canal on March 23, halting traffic in both directions for nearly a week. The ship was refloated on 29 March by a fleet of Egyptian tugboats and diggers.
The vessel has since been idle in a lake between two sections of the canal under court order until the compensation claimed by the SCA is paid.
The SCA had demanded $916 million in compensation to cover salvage efforts, reputational damage, and lost revenue before publicly lowering the request to $550 million.
On 13 April, an Egyptian court ordered the mega-ship be impounded after Shoei Kisen, the Japanese ship owner, refused to pay the required sum.
An appeal filed by the ship owner against the impounding order was rejected by an Egyptian appeals court, which allowed the SCA to keep holding the vessel.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, Khalid Abu Bakr, the SCA’s lawyer, stressed that the canal authority was committed to keeping the terms of the agreement confidential.
Abu Bakr, Captain Montaser El-Sukari — an expert in maritime transport — and Captain Sayed Shuaisha — advisor to the SCA — were honoured by Rabie during Wednesday’s ceremony by presenting them the shield of the SCA for their exerted efforts during the last period.
The SCA will always be able to provide its services with the latest capabilities for all ships of all sizes, tonnage, and types, and will also remain keen to continue development and modernisation, Rabie said.