After 106 Days, Giant Boxship Ever Given is Free to Leave Suez Canal

Ever Given in transit after the successful refloat operation, March 2021 (SCA)

Published Jul 5, 2021 12:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The giant boxship Ever Given is finally set to sail out of Egypt, ending a 106-day period of captivity imposed by the Suez Canal Authority for blocking the busy waterway and causing a massive traffic jam.

Egyptian authorities, together with Ever Given's owners, lawyers and insurers, announced that the vessel will leave the Great Bitter Lake section of the canal on Wednesday.

“Following the agreement in principle between the parties, and after further meetings with the Suez Canal Authority’s negotiating committee and numerous court hearings, good progress has been made and a formal solution has now been agreed,” said The UK Club, a protection and indemnity insurer for Ever Given.

On Sunday, Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie told a private TV channel that the compensation settlement contract will be signed on Wednesday. The signing will be followed by a formal ceremony marking the end of Ever Given's detention in Egypt.

Although Rabie did not reveal the exact payment that SCA will receive, he said the canal will get a tug boat with a pulling capacity of about 75 tons as part of the settlement.

“We preserved the rights of the authority in full, preserved our relationship with the company and also political relations with Japan,” he said.

SCA was demanding $550 million in compensation, a 40 percent reduction from its previous push for $916 million. The authority had said that it will accept $200 million in advance to allow the vessel to leave, with the remaining $350 million to be paid as letters of guarantee. The final settlement amount has not been disclosed.

“Preparations for the release of the vessel will be made and an event marking the agreement will be held at the Authority’s headquarters in Ismailia in due course,” said Faz Peermohamed of Stann Marine, which represents owner Shoei Kisen and its insurers.

The conclusion of an agreement and subsequent release of the giant boxship is a big relief for cargo owners, who will be looking forward to receiving the 18,300 TEU of containerized goods on board the vessel - including some perishable goods.

The ship, with cargo worth a total of $780 million, was bound for the port of Rotterdam from China when she ran aground and became lodged sideways across the Suez Canal, blocking the path of dozens of other vessels. It took SCA salvage teams six days to free the ship.

Ever Given is owned Panama-based Luster Maritime, a subsidiary of Japanese shipowner Shoei Kisen Kaisha. She is chartered to Taiwanese carrier Evergreen, with ship management by Japanese firm Higaki Sangyo Kaisha and technical management by the Hong Kong division of BSM.

Egyptian authorities have been adamant in demanding compensation, claiming that the mega ship caused significant losses by blocking the busy Suez Canal, which is the quickest maritime link between Asia and Europe. About 12 percent of the world trade volume passes through it, making it one of the world's busiest waterways. Nearly 19,000 ships - or an average of 51.5 ships per day - with a total tonnage of 1.17 billion tons passed through the canal last year.

Despite the disruption of the Ever Given incident, the canal earned revenue of $3 billion in the first six months of 2021 - up 8.8 percent compared with the same period last year, according to Rabie.