Dispute over blockade of Suez Canal settled

FILED - A boy observes two tugboats taking part in the refloating operation carried out to free the
FILED - A boy observes two tugboats taking part in the refloating operation carried out to free the "Ever Given" container ship while it was stuck in the Suez Canal last month. The Suez Canal is ready to accept an out-of-court settlement with a massive container ship that blocked the vital waterway for almost a week last month, an Egyptian official has said. Photo: Samuel Mohsen/dpa

An agreement has been reached in the dispute over the blockade for days of the Suez Canal by the freighter Ever Given.

The container ship is to be released this Wednesday, a spokesman for the Japanese ship owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha said on Monday. He did not give details of the agreement with the Egyptian canal authority.

After weeks of extensive negotiations, an “agreement in principle” had been reached, the British law firm Stann Marine recently announced. It represents the owners and insurers of the Ever Given.

Osama Rabea, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, also refused to announce any details of the settlement due to a confidentiality agreement. He told the privately-owned Al-Qahira Wal Nas TV channel on Sunday evening that the authority will get a tug boat with a pulling capacity of about 75 tons as part of the deal.

“On Wednesday there will be a ceremony for the final signing and we will allow the ship to leave,” Rabea said, adding that by then at least part of the settlement amount would have been transferred.

“So, we would be ending three months of difficult negotiations,” he added.

The Ever Given is one of the largest container ships in the world and ran aground in the Suez Canal in March.

The 400-metre-long container ship blocked the important waterway between Asia and Europe for six days.

It sails under the flag of Panama and was chartered by a Taiwan-based company before the accident.

The canal authorities impounded the ship, which is located at the Great Bitter Lake that separates the northern from the southern part of the Suez Canal.

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