The Ever Given container ship has been released from the Suez Canal after its Japanese owner and local authorities agreed to a compensation settlement.
Ever Given Release in Brief:
- Ever Given container ship freed from judicial seizure
- Owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha and local authorities sign compensation agreement
- The vessel departed the Bitter Lakes on Wednesday morning, local time
- It will now head to Port Said in Egypt for a dive survey
- The Ever Given will then head to the port of unloading
An Egyptian court released the vessel from judicial seizure on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), the Ever Given’s owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Co. Ltd., and their insurers, signed a compensation settlement, freeing the vessel to continue on its way 106 days after it became grounded.
The vessel was reportedly spotted heading North towards the Mediterranean Sea, weighing anchor just before midday local time. The UK P&I Club, the ship’s third-party loss insurer, confirmed in a statement that the ship had left the Bitter Lakes and would head to the Egyptian Port Said for a dive survey.
“After more than three months of negotiations we are pleased that an agreement was reached which has allowed the ship to leave the Suez Canal,” the statement further said.
“We would like to acknowledge the work and expertise of the SCA and others whose professionalism and dedication resulted in the ship being refloated within seven days of her going aground in the canal. Over the last three months we, along with the ship’s owners and other interests, have worked closely with the SCA’s negotiations team to achieve today’s results,” it added.
Shoei Kisen Kaisha confirmed the Ever Given will depart Port Said “then sail to the port of unloading with the approval of ship-class ABS”. The vessel was originally bound for the Netherlands.
"We recognise the importance of the cargo on board the vessel and are sorry for the impact of voyage delays on the cargo, but the delays are minimised and the vessel releases as quickly as possible,” Shoei Kisen Kaisha added. "We would like to report to all cargo-related parties that we have taken every possible measure to ensure that this is done. We look forward to returning to normal operation as soon as possible.”
The Ever Given’s Three Month Detainment
The 400-metre container ship, one of the world’s largest by capacity at 20,000+ TEU, has been detained in the Bitter Lakes holding area off the canal’s main waterway since it was refloated in March, along with its cargo. It blocked the canal, one of the world’s busiest freight cut-throughs, for six days, delaying billions of dollars’ worth of goods.
The SCA originally put forward a claim of $916m to cover loss of transit revenue, pay international rescue teams, and make repairs to furrows in the canal’s banks and bed caused by the ship’s prow and the dredging efforts of rescue teams. The fee was later dropped to $550m after Shoei Kisen Kaisha and the ship’s insurers claimed it was excessive. On Wednesday, both parties signed a final compensation agreement, though the figure has not been revealed.
The UK P&I Club said in late June that “an agreement in principle between the parties has been reached” after “extensive discussion” with the Suez Canal Authority. It was widely believed that the ship would be freed as early as 1 July, though details in the final compensation deal likely took longer to iron out. Some reports suggest the package will include cash and a tugboat.
Timeline: Refloating the Ever Given
Tuesday, 23 March
Suez Canal blocked by the Ever Given
At day break in Egypt, one of the world’s biggest container ships veers off course and becomes wedged diagonally across the Suez Canal. The Ever Given, a 400 metre, 20,000 TEU vessel, blocks transit and leaves dozens of ships stranded at either end of the canal.
Wednesday, 24 March
First rescue attempts fail
Initial efforts to refloat the Ever Given fail. Tug boats and dredgers try to dig the ship out of the mud and nudge it away from the bank, but make little progress. By this time, more than 100 vessels are piling up, waiting for news.
Thursday, 25 March
Navigation of the channel suspended
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) officially suspends navigation of the manmade strait “until the floatation works of the large Panamanian container vessel […] are complete”. The backlog grows by a further 50 ships.
Friday, 26 March
Costs rise as new plan forms
International recovery teams join the efforts with plans to refloat the Ever Given during the high tide on Saturday evening. Mass dredging down to a depth of 16 metres gets underway. The estimated daily cost of the blockage is $9.5bn.
Saturday, 27 March
Race against the clock
Recovery teams continue their work around the clock as they race to remove enough soil and sand to float the Ever Given on high tide. Suez-bound vessels are now traversing the southern tip of Africa rather than join the logjam in the Mediterranean and Red seas.
Sunday, 28 March
Full moon reveals end in sight
High tides from a full moon raises hopes that tonight will be the night. Excavation works continue as more tugboats from Europe join the rescue operation. Around 30,000 cubic metres of sand have now been shifted from around the Ever Given’s bow.
Monday, 29 March
Cheers from tugboat and excavation teams ring out between the banks. The Ever Given is confirmed free at 3pm local time, and will soon head to the Bitter Lakes holding area for a full inspection. Officials immediately get to work on the backlog of ships.
Wednesday, 7 July
Ever Given Departs Suez Canal
A three month compensation dispute comes to a close as local authorities and the ship’s owner agree to a settlement. The vessel weighs anchor and heads to Port Said for a full inspection. It will then depart to its port of unloading.
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