Pay Up! Now It Looks Like Companies That Have Container On The Ever Given Will Be Hit Up To Pay Part Of Ransom To Get Ship Free.

This photo released by the Suez Canal Authority shows tug boats and dredgers working to free the Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned Ever Given, which is lodged across the Suez Canal, Sunday, March 28, 2021. Two additional tugboats are speeding to canal to aid efforts to free the skyscraper-sized container ship wedged for days across the crucial waterway. That's even as major shippers increasingly divert their boats out of fear the vessel may take even longer to free. (Suez Canal Authority via AP)

If a business was unlucky enough to have containers aboard the Ever Given – the ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal last month – things aren’t improving.

Those companies may be on the hook for some of the estimated $1 billion it’s going to take to release the cargo. 

“The vessel will remain here until investigations are complete and compensation is paid,” the head of the Suez Canal Authority, Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The minute they agree to compensation, the vessel will be allowed to move.” 

It’s like a ransom, according to some.

Abdulgani Serang, an official with the National Union of Seafarers in India, said the crew shouldn’t be held against its will while the ship is anchored and motionless.

“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,” Serang told the Times of India. 

But exactly who is on this hook?

Neither Egypt nor the SCA explained responsibility for the $1 billion demand, but filings in London’s High Court suggest expenses could be split among Evergreen, its insurers and cargo owners on the boat. 

Rabie hasn’t explained the $1 billion estimate or any breakdown of expenses. 

A Business Insider story suggested a few possibilities – in addition to a Suez Canal Authority estimate of $95 million in lost transit fees:

  • Two dredger ships
  • 11 tug boats of varying size
  • Wages of 800 Egyptian workers who operated around the clock to free the ship
  • Damage to the canal
  • Miscellaneous equipment used to free the ship, such as excavators

The Ever Given is still inside the Suez Canal, in a wider area called the Great Bitter Lake.

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