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Ship that blocked Suez Canal finally freed

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Ship Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal.[Reuters]

The owners and insurers of the Ever Given container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March said on Sunday a formal settlement had been agreed. The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, resumed its journey to leave the Suez Canal yesterday, 106 days after becoming wedged across a southern section of the waterway for nearly a week and disrupting global trade.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) had held the giant ship and its crew in a lake between two stretches of the waterway since it was dislodged on March 29, amid a dispute over demand for compensation by the SCA. The Japanese-owned Ever Given had become stuck in high winds and remained wedged across the canal for six days, disrupting global trade.

“Preparations for the release of the vessel will be made and an event marking the agreement will be held at the Authority’s headquarters in Ismailia in due course,” Faz Peermohamed of Stann Marine, which represents owner Shoei Kisen and its insurers, said in a statement.

The SCA said the settlement contract was signed yesterday at a ceremony, and that participants watched the ship leaving.

Stann Marine gave no details of the settlement. Osama Rabie, the SCA chairman, said the canal will receive a tug boat with a pulling capacity of about 75 tonnes as part of a settlement, without mentioning any other details.

“We preserved the rights of the authority in full, preserved our relationship with the company and also political relations with Japan,” he told a private TV channel on Sunday evening.

The canal earned revenue of $3 billion (Sh324 billion) in the first six months of 2021, up 8.8 per cent compared with the same period last year, despite the Ever Given accident, Rabie said.

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