(dpa) – 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.
The Panama-flagged ship, Ever Given, was refloated on March 29, six days after it ran aground during a sandstorm and blocked the canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
The 400-metre-long vessel is now anchored at the Great Lakes area, a wider section of the canal, for examination.
The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Osama Rabae, said the state operator of the passage is conducting a breakdown of the losses it incurred during the blockage to negotiate a financial deal with the owners of the ship.
“They want to settle it cordially. I have no problem. What we want is to get our rights. We have suffered financial, moral and technical harms,” he added in remarks aired on Egyptian privately owned station ON TV late on Saturday.
He previously estimated the compensation at about 1 billion dollars. “This was an initial estimate. The figure can be a bit lower or higher.”
Ever Given will remain in Egypt until investigations are completed and a compensation deal is reached, Rabae said.
The colossal tanker veered off its course when the crew lost visibility while sailing through the canal on a Rotterdam-bound voyage, resulting in a huge traffic jam.
The Suez Canal provides one of Egypt’s main sources of income, alongside tourism and remittances from expatriates.
Revenue from the waterway reached 5.6 billion dollars last year.
The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, provides the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe.