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Suez canal damages may amount to $1bn

The head of the Suez Canal Authority on Thursday said that losses and damages resulting from the grounding of the Ever Given container ship could run to more than $1 billion.

Osama Rabie told media that investigations into the incident, which resulted in the vital trade waterway being blocked to shipping for nearly a week, had begun on Wednesday.

The ship’s black box recorder would reveal details of how the giant vessel – successfully refloated on Monday – ended up jammed sideways across the canal, he added.

Authorities said the backlog of hundreds of ships was clearing smoothly and that the Ever Given was currently undergoing checks while moored away from the main Suez navigation channel.

Rabie pointed out that the Ever Given would be allowed to continue its voyage when compensation had been agreed, but he warned that the vessel would be held if a settlement could not be reached. “The ship carries goods worth $3.5 billion. There was cooperation from the company that owns the ship during the crisis,” he said.

He noted that the probe into the international shipping crisis was being conducted by a team that included marine, legal, loss assessment, and engineering experts while predicting that Egyptian compensation claims could be in excess of $1 billion.

The blockage held up billions of dollars in global trade each day the canal was closed. On Monday, 1,134 ships passed through the Suez and another 81 on Tuesday, with the largest container vessels given priority passage.

According to Rabie, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had directed that incentives be granted in the form of a 5 percent to 15 percent reduction for ships affected by the incident.

“President El-Sisi spoke to me every day to follow up the latest developments in the grounded ship issue. At dawn on Monday, the president announced the movement of the ship,” he added.

The 800 workers involved in the tricky operation to refloat the Ever Given are to receive bonuses and El-Sisi also pledged to organize a celebration ceremony for them.

Global credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar said that total losses covered by insurance would not be overly excessive due to the relatively short period the ship was stuck in the canal, adding that most insurance contracts set a maximum amount of coverage.

Source: Arab News

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