Ever Given Finally Leaves Suez Canal Months After Blocking Passage

The Ever Given left the Suez Canal's Great Bitter Lake after being held for over three months over a financial dispute, the Associated Press reported.

An agreement was finally made after the Ever Given's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., reaching a settlement with canal authorities over a compensation amount following weeks of negotiations and a court standoff.

Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. said the ship would undergo a dive surgery in Egypt's Mediterranean city of Port Said, before resuming the voyage and delivering the cargo aboard.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Ever Given Finally Leaves Suez Canal
ISMAILIA, EGYPT - JULY 07: Osama Rabie, chairman of Egypt's Suez Canal Authority (SCA), speaks during a press conference after the release of the Ever Given on July 7, 2021 in Ismailia, Egypt. The ship had become lodged in the canal in March, requiring a six-day salvage operation to free the vessel. The canal authority and Egyptian government detained the ship for months while they sought compensation from its owners for the economic fallout of the accident. Roger Anis/Getty Images

The settlement deal was signed in a ceremony Wednesday in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, after which the vessel was seen sailing to the Mediterranean Sea. An Associated Press video journalist on board a tugboat saw the vessel moving northward to the Mediterranean as officials representing the Suez Canal the vessel's owner and insurers penned the deal in Ismailia.

Wednesday's release came a day after an Egyptian court lifted the judicial seizure of the vessel following the Suez Canal Authority's notification that it reached a settlement with the vessels' owners and insurers.

Officials did not reveal details on the terms of the settlement. At first, the Suez Canal Authority had demanded $916 million in compensation, which was later lowered to $550 million. In addition to the money, local reports said the canal would also receive a tugboat.

The money, according to canal authorities, would cover the salvage operation, costs of stalled canal traffic, and lost transit fees for the six days the Ever Given had blocked the crucial waterway.

The Panama-flagged vessel was on its way to the Dutch port of Rotterdam on March 23 when it slammed into the bank of a single-lane stretch of the canal about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the city of Suez.

Its bow had touched the eastern wall of the canal, while its stern looked lodged against the western wall — an extraordinary event that experts said they had never heard of happening in the canal's 150-year history.

A massive salvage effort by a flotilla of tugboats helped by the tides freed the skyscraper-sized vessel six days later, ending the crisis, and allowing hundreds of waiting ships to pass through the canal.

The blockage of the Suez Canal forced some ships at the time to take the long alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa's southern tip, requiring additional fuel and other costs. Hundreds of other ships waited in place for the blockage to end.

The shutdown, which raised worries of supply shortages and rising costs for consumers, added strain on the shipping industry, already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

Ever Given Finally Leaves Suez Canal
FILE - In this Tuesday, March 30, 2021, file photo, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is seen in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake. An Egyptian court on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, lifted a three-month long judicial seizure of the Ever Given, a hulking shipping vessel that had blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week earlier this year, paving the way for it to leave Egypt on Wednesday, following a ceremony in the canal city of Ismailia. Mohamed Elshahed/Associated Press