Egyptian authorities have provisionally seized the ‘Ever Given’, the cargo ship that ran aground in March in the Suez Canal, amid its claim for $900 million in compensation for losses caused by the blockage of the waterway for nearly a week.

The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Osama Rabie, has pointed out that this figure covers the costs of the refloating and maintenance of the ship, before adding that the seizure has been endorsed by a court in Ismailia.

Thus, he has stressed that the SCA issued a report on the grounding of the vessel and submitted a request to this court for the seizure of the vessel until the claimed compensations are paid, as reported by the Egyptian daily ‘Al Ahram’.

The ship, which is currently in the Bitter Lakes area, ran aground on March 23 and was refloated on March 29, while investigations by the Egyptian authorities into the causes of the incident continue.

Rabie himself said Monday that he expects the investigations to be completed by Thursday, but added that the compensation negotiations could take longer, as they involve “many details”. He said the shipowner has raised doubts about 90 percent of the total sum.

In this regard, the ship’s insurer for third-party losses, the British P&I Club, has indicated in a statement that the owner of the ‘Ever Given’, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, has received a claim worth 916 million dollars (about 765 million euros).

“Despite the size of the claim, which is largely unsubstantiated, the owners and their insurers have been negotiating in good faith with the SCA,” it said in a statement, adding that “a generous offer” was presented to the SCA on April 12.

Therefore, it has shown its “disappointment” by the fact that the SCA has chosen to request the seizure of the ship, as well as by “comments from the SCA that the ship will be held in Egypt until the payment of compensation and that its crew will not be able to leave the ship during this time.”

The grounding of the ‘Ever Given’, 400 meters long and 59 meters wide, carrying 224,000 tons of goods, caused an unprecedented traffic jam on one of the busiest trade routes in the world, causing a paralysis of goods worth 9.5 billion euros per day.

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