20210329 mv ever given
A view shows the container ship Ever Givenafter it was partially refloated, in Suez Canal. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: An Egyptian court had upheld the impounding of a giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March and rejected an appeal filed by the vessel’s owner against the seizure.

Last month, a court in the Egyptian coastal city of Ismailia ordered the seizure of the Panamanian-flagged Ever Given upon a request from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) amid a dispute between the two sides over a compensation settlement. The SCA has filed for damages of $916 million from the ship over the losses resulting from a blockage of the shipping route, according to Egyptian media.

Ever Given, loaded with 18,000 containers, in March ran aground in the canal and blocked it for nearly a week, causing daily losses estimated at $14 million. The Japanese company that owns the vessel argued in its appeal that it failed in its negotiations with the SCA to reach an out-of-court settlement due to what the firm called “exaggerated and unacceptable” claim made by the SCA, the Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouk reported, quoting the appeal.

But the appeal was turned down by an economic court in Ismailia on Tuesday.

Last week, SCA head Admiral Osama Rabie said the authority is keen to render successful negotiations with the vessel’s owning and insurance companies, and reach a compromise deal. He did not specify the damages requested by the SCA.

Ever Given has been anchoring at the Great Bitter Lake area in Ismailia since it was freed on March 29.

Linking the Red and Mediterranean seas, the Suez Canal handles around 12 per cent of the world trade.