The Ever Given finally is on the move again.
Egyptian officials apparently were just as happy to see the once-stuck container ship sailing again as the vessel’s operator, Evergreen Marine, and shippers with cargo aboard the 20,000-TEU ship. Flowers and a plaque reportedly were presented and the departure of the Ever Given was shown live on Egyptian television Wednesday.
“I announce to the world that we have reached a deal,” Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie was quoted as saying.
The Ever Given was en route from Yantian, China, through the Suez Canal to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands on March 23 when it was reportedly hit by strong winds and ran aground. It became stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, blocking both northbound and southbound traffic — for six days.
The Ever Given was freed on March 29 and moved to Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, where it was detained for more than three months while the SCA, the ship’s owner and insurers negotiated a settlement to release the vessel and get its cargo — and crew — moving again.
“We are grateful for the sake of the ship’s crew that the parties have reached a successful settlement,” International Chamber of Shipping Secretary General Guy Platten said in a statement Wednesday. “You cannot put a price on the well-being of seafarers. The Ever Given crew is now free to continue their vital role in the global supply chain and also travel home to their loved ones after three months of uncertainty.”
American Shipper reported on June 23 that the UK P&I Club, an insurer of the Even Given, said an agreement had been reached with the SCA and the container ship was expected to soon be released from Egyptian custody.
The SCA initially had sought $916 million for damage to the Suez Canal and the loss of business caused by the Ever Given blockage. By the time the Ever Given was freed, 367 ships reportedly were at anchor waiting to transit the Suez Canal.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but sources speculated a settlement amount of $150 million.
The SCA and the Ever Given’s owners, Japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha, signed the deal in Ismailia, Egypt, early Wednesday.
According to MarineTraffic, the Ever Given was nearing Egypt’s Port Said at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday. The hull will be inspected at Port Said before the Ever Given sails for Rotterdam, where it is expected to arrive in about two weeks.
Platten said the departure of the Ever Given from the Suez Canal was “good news for the Egyptian authorities, good news for the owners and importantly good news for the crew.”
“The Suez incident cost $5.1 billion in world trade a day. However, this was a drop in the bucket in comparison to the financial and emotional costs that the entire industry has been having to deal with due to the draconian travel restrictions imposed on seafarers by all governments,” Platten said.
The UK P&I Club in a statement Wednesday also acknowledged the “ship’s crew and their families, who have been living in a state of uncertainty since the ship grounded in March. In addition to their routine duties onboard, the crew have worked closely with the SCA, salvors, investigators, lawyers and countless others and throughout it all have consistently displayed a patient professionalism that is truly admirable.”