Cargo ship that blocked Suez Canal to be released following settlement agreement
© WikiMedia (kees torn)
Cargo ship that blocked Suez Canal to be released following settlement agreement

Ever Given, the cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly six days in March, will be released from its impoundment in the Great Bitter Lake following a settlement agreement between the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and the ship’s owners and insurers.

The Ever Given has been held at the lake in the Canal’s midway point since being dislodged on March 29 after a “salvage operation that involved a flotilla of tug boats and dredging vessels, and during which one person was killed.”

The SCA initially demanded USD $916 million in compensation for the accident, which massively disrupted global trade. According to SCA, that amount was “to cover salvage efforts, reputational damage and lost revenue.” The SCA also claimed that the ship’s accident occurred because of inappropriate speed and rudder size. UK Club, the third-party liability insurer for the ship, “fully acknowledge[d] that the SCA is entitled to compensation for their legitimate claims arising out of this incident,” but maintained that they were “concerned” about the additional allegations. A spokesperson for the UK Club stated that “navigation in the canal transit within a convoy is controlled by the Suez Canal pilots and SCA vessel traffic management services … [and that] such controls include the speed of the transit and the availability of escort tugs.”

In May, the Ismailia first instance economic court adjourned hearings on the matter so that the parties could finalize a settlement. Although the SCA publicly reduced their settlement request to $550 million, the final terms of the agreement are not known because all parties agreed to confidentiality.

The UK club issued the following media statement:

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 negotiating committee and numerous court hearings, good progress has been made and a formal solution has now been agreed. 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.

Plans are currently underway to release the Ever Given from the Great Bitter Lake on Wednesday.