April 14, 2021

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Egypt seeks settlement with ship owner for Suez Canal blockage

The Suez Canal chief mentioned Tuesday that authorities are negotiating a monetary settlement with the house owners of an enormous vessel that blocked the essential waterway for almost per week.

Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie informed The Related Press he hoped talks with Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the Japanese proprietor of the skyscraper-sized Ever Given, will conclude with no lawsuit.

“We are discussing with them a peaceful resolution to the matter without resorting to the judiciary,” he mentioned. He maintained that bringing the case earlier than a courtroom could be extra dangerous to the agency than settling with the canal’s administration.

The canal chief mentioned final week the Suez Canal Authority was anticipating greater than $1 billion US in compensation, warning the ship wouldn’t be allowed to depart the canal if the problem of damages turns right into a authorized dispute.

That quantity takes into consideration the salvage operation, prices of stalled site visitors and misplaced transit charges for the week that the Ever Given blocked the canal. He didn’t specify then who could be chargeable for paying the compensation.

Investigation underway

The huge cargo ship is at present in one of many canal’s holding lakes, the place authorities and the ship’s managers say an investigation is ongoing.

Rabie additionally mentioned Tuesday investigators have analyzed information from the Voyage Information Recorder, also called a vessel’s black field, however no conclusion had but been reached on what led the Ever Given to run aground.

He refused to debate attainable causes, together with the ship’s pace and the excessive winds that buffeted it throughout a sandstorm, saying he couldn’t touch upon an ongoing investigation. Preliminary stories prompt a “blackout” struck the vessel, one thing denied by the ship’s technical supervisor.

Final week, salvage groups freed the Ever Given, ending a disaster that had clogged one of many world’s most significant waterways and halted billions of {dollars} a day in maritime commerce.

“We’ve achieved one of the world’s biggest salvage operations under difficult and complicated circumstances … in only six days,” Rabie mentioned. 

Shutdown unprecedented

The Panama-flagged ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe ran aground on March 23 within the slim, man-made canal dividing continental Africa from the Asian Sinai Peninsula.

Its bow was touching the japanese wall, whereas its stern seemed lodged towards the western wall — a unprecedented occasion that specialists mentioned they’d by no means heard of occurring within the canal’s 150-year historical past.

“The case that we had was complicated and non-traditional, so there should have been a non-traditional solution,” Rabie mentioned.

WATCH | Tugboats assist free ship in Suez Canal:

The big container ship Ever Given has been free of a sandy financial institution in Egypt’s Suez Canal after a group of tugboats helped pull its heavy bow from the shore and ship it on its method. 0:56

He mentioned they relied on dredgers to take away sand from beneath the hulking vessel.

Then, a flotilla of tugboats, aided by the tides, wrenched the bulbous bow of Ever Given from the canal’s sandy financial institution, the place it had been firmly lodged.

Rabie mentioned it was a troublesome resolution to make use of dredgers as a result of it was the primary time authorities had used such machines in rescue operations within the canal. But it surely proved fruitful, he mentioned.

The unprecedented six-day shutdown, which raised fears of prolonged delays, items shortages and rising prices for shoppers, added pressure on the delivery trade already underneath stress from the coronavirus pandemic.

The canal authority mentioned it cleared a maritime site visitors jam that had grown to greater than 420 vessels ready on each ends of the Suez Canal and within the Nice Bitter Lake and the canal was again to its regular common.

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