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Ever Given Seized for Blocking Suez Canal as Egypt Demands $900m Compensation

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The Ever Given container ship that notoriously blocked the Suez Canal has been seized by the Egyptian government as the nation claims compensation for costs arising from the vessel’s rescue.

Egypt has seized the MV Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, according to Bloomberg. The country is claiming $900 million in compensation after the ship was stuck in the vital trade route for nearly a week.

The move was first reported on Ahram Gate, a state-run website. The compensation sought will cover losses to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and the costs incurred from refloating the trapped ship. Ahram Gate cited Osama Rabie, head of SCA.

The seizure order was made by a court in the Egyptian city of Ismailia.

Rabie announced on Thursday that Egypt would seek $1 billion in compensation in what would amount to the world’s most expensive parking ticket.

Though the amount the nation is now seeking is less than the figure Rabie quoted, he said this week that it “the right of the country” to seek compensation and Egypt “should get its due” for its role in the ship’s rescue.

Rabie placed the blame for the incident on the captain of the ship, according to The Japan Times. The Ever Given is owned by Japanese ship-leasing company Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd and was operated by Evergreen Marine Corp., based in Taiwan.

“Maybe the captain made a mistake in a specific [operation] request, such as the rudder or speed, which could have led to that,” Rabie said in an interview.

Rabie said that despite the presence of an SCA guide on board, his organization does not bear responsibility for the blockage, which saw 422 ships and billions in international cargo held up.

Egypt has seized the Ever Given – the ship stuck in the Suez Canal – pending $900 million in compensation #OOTT https://t.co/meE5CIzbJ7

— Helen Robertson (@HelenCRobertson) April 13, 2021

“Even when orders are issued by the guide, the captain has the right to change them or use any route or speed other than what the guide says,” Rabie said. “There was no error or responsibility on the part of the Suez Canal.”

The 400-meter (1300-foot) ship weighing 220,000 tons became trapped in the canal on March 23 and resulted in a major disruption to world trade. Some ships were forced to take a 3,100-mile detour around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in order to reach their destinations.

The vessel was carrying $3.5 billion worth of goods when it became lodged in the narrow canal. Unsuccessful attempts were made to refloat the Ever Given but a group of 10 tugboats was finally able to dislodge the ship.

4/13/21 8.50am E.T.: This article has been updated with more information about the MV Ever Given.

A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 24, 2021 shows the Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given (Evergreen), a 400-metre- (1,300-foot-)long and 59-metre wide vessel, lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt’s Suez Canal. Egypt has now seized the vessel.
Suez Canal Authority/HO/AFP/Getty Images

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