Suez Canal Authority says door is still open for negotiations with container ship owner

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The vessel Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, is seen after being fully floated in the Suez Canal, Egypt on March 29, 2021. REUTERS / Mohamed Abd El Ghany / File Photo

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Tuesday it was still open to negotiations with the owners of a giant container ship that blocked traffic on the waterway for six days in March despite a process of litigation pending before an Egyptian court.

On March 23, the Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, got stuck across the canal by high winds, disrupting two-way traffic and disrupting global trade. Read more

On Sunday, the court rejected a request by Shoei Kisen, the ship’s Japanese owners, to have the ship released from detention. Read more

The SCA is seeking $ 916 million in compensation for the disruptions suffered, but said on Tuesday it would be prepared to accept a reduced sum of $ 550 million, including a $ 200 million deposit made to secure the release of the ship and the remaining amount payable by letters of credit.

“The Authority continued to manage the situation with full flexibility during the negotiation procedures with the shipowner in order to maintain the long relationship with him as one of our most important clients …”, the SCA said in a statement.

This flexibility also explains “the continuation of negotiations despite the ongoing contentious procedures to reach an agreement that suits all parties,” he added.

The statement echoed comments by SCA chairman Osama Rabie, who also told Egyptian state television on Monday that Shoei Kisen had offered only $ 150 million in compensation.

Rabie said the investigations into how the ship ran aground in the first place placed the responsibility solely on the ship’s captain, refuting arguments by the owner’s legal team that accused the SCA of allowing the ship to navigate in bad weather. Read more

Twelve ships crossed the southern section of the Suez Canal that day despite the weather, the statement said.

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