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Egypt agrees to release ship that blocked Suez Canal


Kendy

Egypt agrees to release ship that blocked Suez Canal
The Ever Given has been anchored in the Great Bitter Lake since it was refloated. (Reuters)

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Cairo – Egypt will release the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March, after it agreed a compensation deal with the vessel’s owners and insurers.

The two sides said the Ever Given would be allowed on Wednesday to leave the Great Bitter Lake, the canal’s midway point, where it has been impounded.

The deal’s terms were not revealed, but Egypt had demanded $550m (£397m).

The 400m-long (1 312ft) Ever Given became wedged across the canal after running aground amid high winds.

It was freed six days later following a salvage operation that involved a flotilla of tug boats and dredging vessels, and during which one person was killed.

Global trade was disrupted as hundreds of ships had to wait to pass through the 193km (120-mile) waterway, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.

UK Club, which insured the Ever Given’s owner Shoei Kisen for third-party liabilities, announced on Sunday that a “formal solution” had been agreed with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) to settle their dispute over compensation.

“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,” it added.

The SCA said the event would be held on Wednesday, and that participants would be able to watch the ship leaving the canal.

Neither side disclosed the amount of compensation, but SCA chairman Osama Rabie said it would receive a tug boat as part of the deal.

The SCA initially asked for $916m, including $300m for a salvage bonus and $300m for loss of reputation. But UK Club rejected the claim, describing it as “extraordinarily large” and “largely unsupported”.

The SCA later lowed its demand to $550m, but the owners and insurers reportedly offered to pay $150m. (BBC)