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Egypt Seizes Ever Given as Penalty for Canal Blockage

Credit: Unsplash

Three weeks ago, the massive shipping vessel Ever Given accidentally grounded itself in the middle of Egypt’s Suez Canal, its prodigious size creating an almost perfect diagonal divider between two halves of the passage. This blockage caused international trading normally carried by multiple shipping vessels passing through the canal to grind to a halt for several days. Once the Ever Given was finally dislodged, it was moved away from the canal for a full safety inspection. However, Egypt isn’t planning to return the vessel to its owners until somebody pays for the damages.

A court located in the city of Ismailia has given the Suez Canal Authority permission to temporarily seize ownership of the Ever Given until they are compensated for the delays and damages the blockage caused, which according to them, total around $900 million. Strangely, though, the SCA hasn’t identified who exactly they’re seeking the damages from, just that they’re seeking them. According to the SCA, these damages will cover lost transit fees, waterway damage caused by the Ever Given, and the cost of equipment and labor that went into its removal from the canal.

The vessel is insured for third-party damages, courtesy of the U.K. P&I Club, who said in a statement that they received a claim for the $900 million. However, according to the U.K. P&I Club, these damages are much greater than what the SCA would actually be owed, and the claim contains several questionable fees, including a $300 million “salvage bonus” and $300 million for “loss of reputation.”

The owners of the Ever Given, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., have declined to comment on the matter of compensation, though they did clarify that the vessel’s crew is still on board while it remains at Great Bitter Lake.

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