New compensation offer made over Suez Canal blockage

The Ever Given container ship has been anchored in a lake between two stretches of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29.
The Ever Given container ship has been anchored in a lake between two stretches of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29.PHOTO: REUTERS

ISMAILIA, EGYPT (REUTERS) - The owners of a container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March have made a new offer in a compensation dispute with the canal authority, and a court ruling on the case was postponed for two weeks on Sunday (June 21) to allow more time for negotiations.

The giant Ever Given container ship has been anchored in a lake between two stretches of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29. It had been grounded across the canal for six days, blocking hundreds of ships and disrupting global trade.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) demanded US$916 million (S$1.2 billion) in compensation to cover salvage efforts, reputational damage and lost revenue, before publicly lowering the request to US$550 million.

The Ever Given’s Japanese owners Shoei Kisen and its insurers have disputed the claim and the ship’s detention under an Egyptian court order.

Negotiations had been ongoing until Saturday and the ship’s owners had made a new offer, SCA lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr told a court hearing over the ship’s detention in Ismailia.

Stann Marine, which represents the owners and insurers of the Ever Given, said: “Over the course of more than 15 days and in extended, long and arduous, but positive working sessions, negotiations are taking place.”

“During the negotiations we submitted a proposal that we believe satisfies all the requirements of the SCA,” it said in a statement, adding that the details would remain confidential.

The SCA’s chairman previously said Shoei Kisen had offered to pay US$150 million.

A court ruling was due on Sunday after several delays, but Stann Marine said it had asked for an adjournment. Judicial sources said the case was postponed until July 4 to allow for an “amicable settlement”.

This week UK P&I Club, one of the ship’s insurers, said it was “hopeful of a positive resolution to these negotiations in the near future”.