Ever Given Ship's Managers Issue Update After Suez Canal Logjam

Ever Given, the giant container ship that was stuck sideways in the Suez Canal for nearly a week, has been deemed fit for onward travel by its technical managers.

The vessel is currently anchored in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake, where it has been since it was freed.

It was seized by the Egyptian government on Tuesday, which is seeking $900 million in compensation for costs arising from its rescue.

Ever Given was "declared suitable for onward passage to Port Said where she will be assessed again before departing for Rotterdam [in the Netherlands]," according to a statement Wednesday from Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the ship's technical managers.

It is said to have undergone "extensive" and "thorough" inspections.

However, the ship remains at Great Bitter Lake after BSM was "informed by the vessel's owner that the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) began arrest procedures against the vessel."

Ever Given will remain anchored "until an agreement between the SCA and the vessel's owner has been reached," the statement said.

The ship's crew of 25 Indian nationals remain aboard the vessel. They are "in good health and good spirits," BSM said on Wednesday.

In the statement, the CEO of BSM, Ian Beveridge, said: "The SCA's decision to arrest the vessel is extremely disappointing."

BSM and crew members were reported to have "cooperated fully with all authorities," including the SCA and their investigation of the ship's grounding.

Beveridge said the SCA was given access to the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) and other materials and data requested by the authority.

"BSM's primary goal is a swift resolution to this matter that will allow the vessel and crew to depart the Suez Canal," he said Wednesday.

Ever Given, which is owned by Japanese ship-leasing company Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd and was operated by Evergreen Marine Corp., ran aground in the Suez Canal on March 23.

The 200,000 gross tonnage vessel was lodged sideways in the waterway while en route to Rotterdam. The ship blocked all traffic across the canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

Initial investigations suggested the ship was grounded due to strong wind and ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding, according to BSM.

The vessel was freed after being refloated on March 29. That day, at least 369 ships were waiting to transit the canal, Osama Rabie, the head of SCA, said at the time.

This included dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels.

At least 572 vessels have transited the canal since it reopened on March 29, according to Leth Agencies, a canal service provider for the Suez and other waterways.

Connecting Europe and Asia, the Suez Canal is one of the world's most important trade routes.

Around 19,000 ships passed through the canal in 2020, according to the SCA, which amounts to around 52 each day.

Newsweek has contacted BSM and the SCA for further comment.

Ever Given containership Suez Canal March 2021
The container ship Ever Given pictured at the Suez Canal in Egypt on March 29, when it was refloated. Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images