Ship stuck in Suez Canal banned from leaving Egypt before $ 900 million bill is paid

Ship stuck in Suez Canal banned from leaving Egypt before $ 900 million bill is paid

Egyptian authorities seized a huge freighter that blocked the Suez Canal last month amid a financial dispute with its owner, the canal chief and a judicial official said Tuesday.

Lt.-Gen. Osama Rabie said the towering Ever Given would not be allowed to leave the country until an amount of compensation was settled with the ship’s Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd.

“The ship is now officially seized,” he told Egyptian public television on Monday. “They don’t want to pay anything.”

There was no immediate comment from the shipowner.

Rabie did not say how much money the canal authorities were looking for. However, a justice official said he was demanding at least US $ 900 million. State daily Ahram also reported the figure of US $ 900 million.

WATCH | How BC-designed tugs helped free a freighter:

Did you know that some of the tugs that helped free the Ever Given from the Suez Canal were designed in British Columbia? The naval architects who designed the tugs explain how ships were able to move a ship more than ten times its size. 5:07

This amount takes into account the rescue operation, the costs of the blocked channel traffic and the transit fees lost for the week the Ever Given blocked the channel.

The official said the order to seize the ship was issued on Monday by a court in the town of Ismailia, in the Suez Canal, and the ship’s crew were notified on Tuesday.

He said prosecutors in Ismailia also opened a separate investigation into what led Ever Given to fail. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media.

Vessel released after 6 days

The Panamanian-flagged ship that carries some US $ 3.5 billion in goods between Asia and Europe ran aground on March 23 in the narrow man-made canal separating mainland Africa from the Asian Sinai peninsula.

On March 29, rescue teams freed Ever Given, ending a crisis that had blocked one of the world’s most vital waterways and disrupted billions of dollars a day in maritime trade.

The unprecedented six-day shutdown, which raised fears of prolonged delays, shortages of goods and increased costs for consumers, added to the pressure on the transportation industry already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic .

Rabie, the chief of the channel, told state television that there had been no wrongdoing by the channel authorities. He declined to discuss possible causes, including the ship’s speed and the high winds that rocked him during a sandstorm.

When asked if the shipowner was at fault, he replied: “Of course, yes.”

Rabie said the conclusion of the authority’s investigation was expected on Thursday.

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