Suez Canal boss says Ever Given can leave once a $200m deposit is paid

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It’s been a busy weekend of back and forths between Japanese shipowner Shoei Kisen and the Suez Canal Authority over the future of the 20,388 teu containership Ever Given, currently under arrest in the Great Bitter Lake having grounded and blocked the Egyptian waterway in March.

Shoei Kisen failed in its latest bid to free the ship. It had tried in another court hearing this weekend to suggest that the SCA was responsible for the huge 400 m long vessel grounding in the first place.

Lawyers for Shoei Kisen said the ship should have been accompanied by at least two tug boats suitable for the ship’s size for the transit during stormy conditions.

Shoei Kisen lawyers also said the detention of the ship was illegal and fired off a $100,000 counter claim in initial compensation for losses from the ship’s protracted stay in Egypt.

Both the SCA and the court dismissed Shoei Kisen’s latest legal efforts. However, SCA chairman Osama Rabie did show further flexibility in negotiating a dollar figure to get the ship back on its way to destinations in Europe.

In the first days after the ship was freed, SCA had demanded a massive $916m in compensation from Shoei Kisen and its insurers, a figure it then slashed to $600m. This amount has since been cut further with Rabie saying in a local TV interview over the weekend he’d be willing to accept a $550m figure with a $200m deposit paid to secure the ship’s release, and the rest payable separately.

The next court hearing on the world’s most famous ship operating today is set for May 29.

 Sam Chambers

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