Egypt seizes Ever Given ship and demands owner pay almost $1 billion
Authorities have "officially impounded" the infamous container ship
Suez Canal authorities have seized the Ever Given as part of a dispute with the ship's owners after the huge cargo vessel blocked the trade route last month.
The container ship will not be allowed to leave the country until compensation has been paid by the ship's Japanese owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, according to the body which manages the waterway. A judicial official has said that the authorities are demanding at least $900 million (£655 million).
The Independent reports that the leader of the Suez Canal authority, Lt Gen Osama Rebei, told Egyption state-run television: “The vessel is now officially impounded. They do not want to pay anything.”
The sum demanded by the authority has been reached by taking into account the cost of the salvage operation, the cost of the traffic and ships that was stalled because of the Ever Given, and as a result the lost transit fees for that week.
The order to impound the vessel was issued by a court in the city of Ismailia on Monday. Prosecutors in the city have also begun an investigation into how the ship managed to run aground on March 23. The ship wasn't freed until March 29, jamming one of the most vital waterways in the world and halting billions of dollars worth of trade.
The blocking of the crucial canal that bisects continental Africa from the Asian Sinai Peninsula raised fears of goods shortages and potentially rising costs for customers. It also placed more strain on the shipping industry, that was already under pressure because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lt Gen Rabie also told Egyptian television that there was no wrongdoing by the canal authority, saying that "of course" the ship's owner was at fault. The conclusion of the authority's investigation is expected on Thursday.