The 193km (120 mile) Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea at the canal’s northern end to the Red Sea in the south and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
On 28 March, at least 369 ships were queuing to pass through the canal. This prevented an estimated US$9.6 billion worth of trade. On 29 March, Ever Given was partially re-floated and moved by about 80 percent in the correct direction, although the bow remained stuck until the ship was finally freed by Egyptian, Dutch, and Italian tugs at and started moving, under tow, towards the Great Bitter Lake, for technical inspection. The canal was checked for damage, and after being found to be sound, the SCA allowed shipping to resume from 29 March. The vessel was subsequently impounded by the Egyptian government on 13 April 2021 for refusing to pay compensations demanded by the government, a claim deemed to be unjustified by the ship’s insurers. After the incident, the Egyptian government announced that they will be widening the narrower parts of the canal.
The ship has been impounded for three months near the canal city of Ismailia
The container ship was refloated following a six-day salvage operation that involved a flotilla of tug boats and dredging vessels. One person was killed during the operation. Since then, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has been seeking compensation from the Ever Given’s Japanese owner Shoei Kisen for the cost of the salvage operation, damage to the canal’s banks and other losses.
The SCA initially asked for $916 million compensation, including $300 million for a salvage bonus and $300 million for loss of reputation. But UK Club – which insured Shoei Kiswn for third-party liabilities – rejected the claim, describing it as “extraordinarily large” and “largely unsupported”.
The SCA later lowered its demand to $550 million. The final settlement, which has not been revealed, was agreed and signed and the ship was released on 7 July, 2021.