Ever Given ship owners reach settlement with Egypt’s Suez Canal; insurer says

The owner and insurers of the giant container ship Ever Given, which blocked Egypt’s Suez Canal for six days in March, have reached a settlement with Egyptian authorities, one of the insurers announced on Wednesday.

The insurer UK P & I Club did not disclose in its statement the amount, but said that as soon as the settlement was formalised, the container ship — after nearly three months the two sides being at loggerheads — would finally complete its journey through the canal.

“Following extensive discussions with the Suez Canal Authority’s negotiating committee over the past few weeks, an agreement in principle between the parties has been reached,” UK P & I Club statement read.

“Together with the owner and the ship’s other insurers we are now working with the S.C.A. to finalize a signed settlement agreement as soon as possible.” the insurer added.

A spokesman for the UK Club told New York Times that the company would not be releasing further details. The Suez Canal Authority had not commented on the deal by Wednesday afternoon.

Since the ship was freed in a huge salvage effort in March, about six days after running aground across the Suez and disrupting global shipping, the Suez Canal Authority demanded compensation from the ship’s owner and operators for what the authority said it was owed for the incident.

The authority had claimed up to $1 billion as a compensation, an amount that included the cost of tugboats, dredgers, and crews hired to salvage the ship as well as the loss of revenue while the canal was blocked. During the delay, some ships had to U-turn and head around the tip of Africa rather than wait for Suez traffic to resume, depriving the canal of their fees.

The amount also does not include the cover of the disruption to worldwide shipping, involving delayed cargo and costs to other shipping lines, which experts have said could ultimately jumped into the hundreds of millions.

The canal authority cut the amount several times as it eventually reached $550 million, but insurers were willing to pay less.

New York Times said the Suez Canal, which has a reputation for demanding large liability sums from shipowners, had a strong hand in the negotiations. The Egyptian waterway remains the shortest way to move cargo from Asia to Europe and beyond.