File- Panama-flagged Ever Given ship is pulled by giant tugboats to harbor in the Great Bitter Lakes in Ismailia- press photo
CAIRO – 5 July 2021: After being stranded for more than three months in the Suez Canal, the Panama-flagged vessel Ever Given will leave this international navigational course on July 7 to resume its voyage to Rotterdam port, following a settlement reached between the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and the shipowners over disputed compensation.
In a statement issued by the SCA on Sunday, the ship will leave on July 7 amid a ceremony of signing a settlement agreement regarding required compensation claims by the authority.
The ceremony will be held at the new marina building, east of the canal in Ismailia, and be attended by SCA chairperson Admiral Osama Rabie, representative of the company that owns the ship, and a number of ambassadors and international partners, the statement added.
The event will witness the green-light go for the resumption of the ship’s voyage and a press conference will be held afterward.
The MV EVER GIVEN went aground on March 23, 2021, in the 151st km of the Suez Canal, where vessels pass in both directions, causing the suspension of the international maritime navigation through the canal for six days. After it was freed on March 29, the ship was escorted to the Bitter Lakes for technical inspection, crew interrogation, and black box analysis. Afterward, an Egyptian economic court in Ismailia issued a decision to seize the ship at the canal until paying compensation for damages it caused due to the grounding, besides the costs of the salvage operation.
“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,” said the UKP&I Insurance company on Sunday.
“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,” the statement added.
Egypt Today contacted the insurance company to get further details on the settlement and compensation. But the company replied, “We're not disclosing any details of the settlement.”
Admiral Osama Rabie told "Hadith Al-Qahira" talk show on Al-Qahira We al-Nas channel that the owner will give the authority a giant tugboat with a pulling capacity of 75 tons as a gift.
Egypt has asked for $916 million in compensation for damages caused by the grounding of the ship, the salvage operation, and for loss of reputation. The situation complicated when an economic court in Ismailia governorate issued on April 13, 2021, a decision to officially arrest the ship until paying compensation.
SCA lawyer Nabil Zidan clarified in a press conference on May 30 that there are two legal cases regarding the decision of the arrest of the ship. "The first lawsuit filed by the Suez Canal Authority to judicially uphold the seizure decision until paying compensation," he said, noting that the Ismailia Economic Court recused itself from considering this case on May 23 and referred it to the Ismailia Court of the First Instance, which adjourned the case to June 20.
On June 20, the court adjourned the hearing to July 4, 2021, when it decided to re-adjourn it to July 11 upon a request from both sides to reach a final settlement.
A Legal consultant, who asked not to be IDed, told Egypt Today on Monday that the case will be left to be dismissed by the court after a period of 60 days.
The case will be dismissed by the court in order not to bear any financial judiciary fees on both sides (the SCA and the shipowners.)
In the beginning, Egypt estimated the compensation value at $916 million, which has been reduced to $600 million. However, SCA Chairperson Admiral Osama Rabie stated previously in a phone-in that the Japanese Company wants to reduce the compensation sum from $600 million to $150 million.
In his meeting with Panamanian Ambassador to Egypt Alejandro Gante and Director General of the Panamanian Maritime Authority Rafael Cigarruista on May 25, Chief of the Suez Canal Authority Admiral Rabie said that the authority has provided facilities, revealing that “the value of the compensation requested by the authority is about $550 million, provided that $200 million shall be paid in advance, while the remaining $350 million are paid as letters of guarantee issued by an ‘A class’ bank in Egypt.”