Dislodged cargo ship held in Suez Canal as owners wrangle over $916 million claim

A mammoth cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal last month is being held on the waterway as authorities have filed a $ 916 million damage claim against its owner, according to the ship’s insurer.

The UK Club, an insurer for the Ever Given, said in a statement Tuesday that the ship’s Japanese owners received a claim on April 7 from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), which operates the canal. The claim includes $ 300 million for “losses” in reputation. “

The company said a “generous offer” was made to the SCA to settle its claim on Monday without going into the amount.

“We are disappointed with the subsequent decision by the SCA to arrest the ship today,” the company added.

The ship ran aground on March 23 in the narrow, man-made canal that separates continental Africa from the Asian Sinai Peninsula. Salvage teams freed the ship almost a week later, ending a crisis that had paralyzed one of the world’s major waterways and halted $ 9 billion in world trade a day.

The SCA would not comment if approached by NBC News on Tuesday, saying it will make an official statement on Thursday.

SCA chairman Osama Rabie said on Egyptian television last week that the Ever Given would not go until the investigation was completed and the compensation paid, Reuters reported. He said the canal had caused “great moral damage”, losses in shipping and recovery costs, and hoped to resolve the matter amicably.

A spokesman for Japanese ship owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. NBC News called on Wednesday that the company had been informed of the compensation funds requested by the SCA and was currently negotiating the number.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, who manages Ever Given, also said the ship owner had told them that the Suez Canal Authority had initiated proceedings against the ship and called the decision “extremely disappointing”.

The company said the ship’s crew fully cooperated with the Canal Authority’s investigation of the grounding and given them access to the voyage recorder and other requested materials.

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The company added that the ship has been inspected and cleared to sail to Port Said at the north end of the canal, where it will be re-assessed before sailing for Rotterdam, the Netherlands, its original destination.

The ship remains anchored in Great Bitter Lake, a wide stretch of water halfway between the north and south ends of the canal, said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed.

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