New compensation offer made over Suez Canal blockage, says lawyer

A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority March 24, 2021 shows a part of the Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given (Evergreen) lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt’s Suez Canal. — Suez Canal handout pic via AFP
A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority March 24, 2021 shows a part of the Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given (Evergreen) lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt’s Suez Canal. — Suez Canal handout pic via AFP

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ISMAILIA, June 20 — The owners of a giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March have made a new offer in a compensation dispute with the canal authority, a lawyer for the authority said today.

The 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 (RM3.7 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 continuing until yesterday, SCA lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr told a court hearing in Ismailia over the ship’s detention.

The ship’s owners had put in a new offer, he said, without giving details. The SCA’s chairman previously said Shoei Kisen had offered to pay US$150 million.

The court had been due to rule on the case today but Shoei Kisen’s legal team asked for a postponement to allow more time for negotiations, one of their lawyers said.

This week UK Club, one of the ship’s insurers, said it was engaged in “serious and constructive negotiations” with the SCA, and was “hopeful of a positive resolution to these negotiations in the near future”. — Reuters

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