The Suez Canal authority has said that Egypt will seek compensation worth around $1 billion for the blockage caused by cargo vessel Ever Given, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
The canal authority’s Chief Executive Officer Osama Rabie on Wednesday told an Egyptian news channel that the amount was an estimate of losses linked to transit fees, damage to the waterway during the dredging and salvage efforts, and the cost of equipment and labour.
Rabie said that the compensation was Egypt’s “right” and that the incident hurt the country’s reputation. “This country should get its due,” he said.
Rabie, however, did not specify whom the authority will seek the compensation from. Evergreen Marine Corporation, the ship’s charterer on Thursday said that it was not responsible for delays of cargo it was transporting and dismissed the possibility of it paying compensation.
“There is almost no chance that we will be sought to pay compensation,” Evergreen Marine President Eric Hsieh said.
The 400-metre long cargo vessel Ever Given was set afloat on Monday evening (Indian time) after it remained stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week. The ship, which had an all-Indian crew, became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early on March 18, halting shipping traffic. Authorities lodged a tedious excavation operation, with diggers working to remove parts of the canal’s bank and expand dredging close to the ship’s bow to a depth of 18 metres. At least 369 vessels were waiting to transit the canal, when the blockage opened on Monday.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday divers inspected the hull of the vessel, while a man tasked with investigating the reason behind it running aground, boarded Ever Given, Reuters reported. Sayed Sheasha, the lead investigator, told the news agency that his examination would include checking seaworthiness of the ship and its captain’s actions to help determine the causes behind the incident.