Lieutenant General Osama Rabie, who heads up the organization responsible for operating the passageway, declared that “it’s the country’s right” to seize the vessel until its owners pay financial compensation for the disruption caused by the ship running aground last month.
The vessel is now officially impounded. They do not want to pay anything.
While the figure has not been publicized by the canal authority, state-owned Egyptian newspaper Ahram claims that officials are seeking $900 million from the owners of Ever Given, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, for the salvage operation, delays to traffic, and lost fees caused by the blockage.
Rabie told state media that the impounding was a temporary measure while the investigation into the incident is ongoing. He added that if the inquiry is swift and a figure is agreed between both sides, then the ship will be released and allowed to proceed to its next destination.
Shoei Kisen Kaisha has not yet publicly commented on the seizure of the vessel. Its technical managers, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, confirmed last week that the crew were cooperating with investigators and the canal authority.
The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most important waterways for the shipping industry, and the Ever Given running aground within the channel resulted in a six-day blockage that forced other vessels to either wait for it to clear or take a longer, more expensive, route around the Horn of Africa.