More Trouble for Evergreen Suez Canal Ship, Now Being Held Captive

Sebastian Blanco
·3 min read
Photo credit: Xinhua News Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Xinhua News Agency - Getty Images
  • The world cheered when the meme-worthy Evergreen cargo vessel called the Ever Given was freed from the sides of the Suez Canal, but the ship still hasn't left the waters there.

  • That's because Egyptian authorities, which control the canal, are investigating what happened and have said they will only let the boat go on its way after the ship's owners pay them $1 billion.

  • There are 25 Indian crew members on board, and the National Union of Seafarers of India has issued a statement saying they should not be held hostage. It appears the workers are being treated well.

The fate of the now-famous Ever Given cargo vessel continues to be newsworthy. While the 1300-foot-long container ship has been freed from its sideways grounding in the Suez Canal, it remains in the canal. The reason, you ask? Egyptian authorities say they want the ship's owners to pay a king's ransom to compensate for the week that the canal was shut down.

Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said on Egyptian state television this week that the country will hold onto the ship while it investigates what happened and until the ship's owner pay $1 billion. The SCA estimates the losses from the week, ending March 29, that the Ever Given was stuck and blocking other traffic through the canal at $95 million in lost transit fees, and there are also the costs to free the ship and other expenses to reimburse. The Ever Given currently remains inside the Suez Canal, in a wider area called the Great Bitter Lake.

"The vessel will remain here until investigations are complete and compensation is paid," he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "The minute they agree to compensation, the vessel will be allowed to move."

That's a fairly straightforward description of a complicated issue. On board are 25 Indian crew members, and the National Union of Seafarers of India issued a statement that said the SCA and the boat's owners are allowed to investigate, but that these discussions should not create a piracy-like situation.

"If the SCA has suffered losses, they can sort it out with those involved with the ship but that cannot haul up seafarers in any manner," the National Union of Seafarers of India's general secretary told the Times of India.

It's not just Egyptian authorities who are asking for money. The Wall Street Journal said insurance claims for the boat's week in the spotlight could include losses for perishable goods as well as supply-chain disruptions. The Ever Given is owned by a Japanese company, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, which told the Journal that it is in discussions with Egyptian authorities and cooperating in the investigation but has not officially heard about the billion-dollar ransom. The company has started liability-limiting court proceedings in London. A representative of the International Transport Workers Federation, also based in London, told the Wall Street Journal that the crew appears to be well treated while they remain on board the ship.

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