Cairo, Egypt: Japan’s mega tanker, which has been held since it blocked Egypt’s Suez Canal in March, will be released on Wednesday after an agreement was reached with its Japanese owners, according to the authority that controls the key canal.
During a sandstorm on March 23, the MV Ever Given, a monster with a deadweight tonnage of 199,000, became lodged crosswise across the canal, closing the commerce canal for six days before salvage teams could release it.
Egypt retained the vessel in order to pursue compensation from Shoei Kisen Kaisha, a Japanese company, for lost canal profits, salvage costs, and damage to the maritime corridor that connects Asia and Europe.
A ceremony to honor the signing of a deal with the owners and “the departure of the ship” will be conducted on Wednesday, according to the Suez Canal Authority.
The amount of compensation was not disclosed in the statement released on Sunday.
According to the Suez Canal Authority, Egypt lost between $12 million and $15 million in revenue for each day the waterway was blocked.
The ship’s grounding and the extensive recovery activities required to get it back on the water caused substantial damage to the canal.
In a statement, a member of the London-based Stann Marine legal company, which represents Ever Given’s owners and insurance, acknowledged that preparations for its release were ongoing.
“We are pleased to announce that… good progress has been made and a formal solution agreed” between the two sides, Faz Peermohamed said in the statement.
Osama Rabie, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, claimed last week that Egypt had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Ever Given’s owners as part of the compensation arrangement.
Egypt had requested compensation in the hundreds of millions of dollars at first, but it eventually reduced its claim from $900 million to $550 million.
After being freed on March 29, the Taiwanese-operated and Panama-flagged ship was transferred to an unobstructive mooring in the Suez Canal, and 420 vessel tailbacks at the canal’s northern and southern entrances were cleared in early April.
According to maritime data provider Lloyd’s List, the vessel’s blockade, which was longer than four football fields, slowed $9.6 billion worth of freight between Asia and Europe each day it remained trapped.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt has ruled against extending the canal’s southern section, where the boat became diagonally stranded.
In 2014-15, Sisi oversaw a much-publicized extension of a northern part, which involved enlarging an existing stretch and introducing a 35-kilometer (21-mile) parallel waterway.
However, this was accomplished at a cost of more than $8 billion, with no appreciable increase in canal revenues.
According to official estimates, Egypt received little over $5.7 billion through the Suez Canal in the 2019/20 fiscal year, a similar amount to the $5.3 billion earned in 2014.