A ceremony was held in Egypt to mark an agreement on compensation for the Ever Given fiasco, with the giant boxship now on the move to leave the country where it has been in since a transit of the Suez Canal went badly wrong on March 23.
The ship was responsible for this year’s most high profile accident when it became lodged across the canal in high winds for six days at the end of March. Egyptian authorities and the Japanese shipowner have been negotiating a compensation package for its release ever since with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) initially demanding $916m, something it has since scaled back.
No details have been revealed on the size of the compensation package thrashed out between the SCA and the ship’s Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen, with the Wall Street Journal suggesting earlier the figure stood at $200m.
The SCA lawyer, Khalid Abubakr said on Wednesday that the authority intends to keep the terms of the agreement confidential.
The giant ship, with more than 18,000 containers onboard, will likely make for its original next port of call, Rotterdam, having undergone inspections at Port Said where it is scheduled to arrive this evening. The 20,388 teu ship is being escorted through the northern section of the canal today by two tugs.
General average was declared on the vessel months ago meaning customers will have to put up security to receive their cargo, with insurance executives warning at a webinar last week that the Ever Given will likely be the largest general average casualty in history.
“We recognise the importance of the cargo on board the vessel and are sorry for the impact of voyage delays on the cargo, but the delays are minimised and the vessel has been released as quickly as possible. We would like to report to all cargo-related parties that we have taken every possible measure to ensure that this is done,” Shoei Kisen said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the weeks following the accident Egyptian authorities detailed plans to widen and deepen the southern part of the Suez Canal where the Ever Given ran aground.
In a televised ceremony in Ismailia, SCA chairman Osama Rabie said the Ever Given incident was a “difficult test” for Egypt “under the eyes of the world”.
Rabie also said that the agreement included the payment of a lump sum, without disclosing the numbers. He added the SCA would not change rules for passage of ships in bad weather, but that the Ever Given’s grounding had accelerated plans for the waterway’s expansion.