Ever Given leaves Suez Canal after compensation deal with Egypt

Cairo, July 7, (dpa/GNA) - Egypt on Wednesday released Ever Given, a massive container ship that had blocked the Suez Canal earlier this year, after the waterway’s authorities and the vessel’s Japanese owners struck a settlement deal.

The supertanker’s release ends a stand-off of more than three months, after the vessel was impounded over a compensation request made by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

The Panama-flagged ship was refloated on March 29, six days after it ran aground during a sandstorm and blocked the canal, disrupting traffic on one of the busiest shipping routes and causing ripple effects around the world.

The 400-metre-long vessel was later anchored at the Great Lakes area, a wider section of the canal.
On Wednesday, legal representatives of the SCA and the megaship’s owners signed an out-of-court compensation agreement of an undisclosed value during a televised ceremony. The SCA head Osama Rabae was shown standing behind them.

Rabae said at the ceremony that the deal fulfilled the interests of both sides, capping three-month negotiations.

"I announce to the world reaching an agreement settling the crisis," he said.

After the signing of the deal, Ever Given was seen sailing from the Suez Canal. Egyptian media reported it would head to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Footage broadcast live on Egyptian television stations showed the Panamanian-flagged vessel leaving as a group of uniformed guides waved the Egyptian flag.

SCA lawyer Khalid Abu Bakr said the authority was committed to the secrecy of the deal with the megaship’s owner. He added that the agreement "fully preserves the SCA rights."

The SCA initially demanded 950 million dollars in compensation, before it lowered the request to 550 million, according to Egyptian media.

On Tuesday, an Egyptian court issued an order allowing Ever Given to be released.

The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, provides one of Egypt's main sources of income, alongside tourism and remittances from expatriates.