Friday, 16 April, 2021

Suez Canal Authority says Egypt will seek $1 billion in damages

Egyptian coast guards patrol as a ship navigates the Suez Canal Suez Canal backlog to end Saturday as last stranded ships pass through
Ginger Lawrence | 04 April, 2021, 18:52

Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said 85 ships were expected to pass through the canal on Saturday, Reuters reported.

The last ships stranded by the grounding of a giant container vessel in the Suez Canal should pass through the waterway on Saturday, according to the canal authority, which said an investigation into the incident would report its findings soon.

How did the Ever Given get stuck?

The 400-metre-long Ever Given, which was on its way from China to the port city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, veered off course and ran aground diagonally while it was passing through the global trade route on 23 March.

Rabie, head of the canal authority, said in a phone interview with a pro-government TV talk show that the amount takes into account the salvage operation, costs of stalled traffic, and lost transit fees for the week that the Ever Given had blocked the Suez Canal.

A total of 422 ships have passed through the canal since the skyscraper-sized Ever Given was freed on March 29, after it blocked the canal for nearly a week, capturing worldwide attention to the global shipping industry.

Suez Canal backlog to end Saturday as last stranded ships pass through
Last ships stranded in Suez Canal complete transit almost a week after cargo ship dislodged

The canal authority began an investigation Wednesday into what exactly caused the Ever Given to run aground and block the waterway.

The Suez Canal earned Egypt just over $5.7 billion in 2019-20, little changed from the year before, and similar to the $5.3 billion in revenues earned back in 2014.

However, he added that if the investigation goes smoothly and the issue of damages is agreed between the country and the ship's owners, then the vessel would be allowed to travel.

On Monday 29 March, after several attempts to refloat the vessel, the SCA said the ship had been "successfully refloated". This led to firms rerouting trade to sail around Africa's Cape of Good Hope, which costs more and typically adds around two weeks onto journeys.

When the 200,000-tonne, Panama-flagged container ship ran aground at the Suez Canal on March 23, it choked off global trade, impacting trading nations, including New Zealand.

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