Ever Given left the Great Amer Lake of the canal where it was held for more than three months amid a financial dispute.
The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, resumed its journey out of the Suez Canal on Wednesday, 106 days after becoming stuck in a southern section of the waterway for nearly a week and disrupting world trade.
The development came after its Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, reached an agreement with the canal authorities on a compensation amount after weeks of negotiations and a legal deadlock.
The settlement agreement was signed in a ceremony Wednesday in the Suez Canal town of Ismailia, after which the ship was seen sailing towards the Mediterranean Sea.
Shoei Kisen said the ship will undergo a diving investigation in the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Port Said before resuming the journey to the next port where its cargo will be unloaded.
The 400-meter (1,310-foot) vessel is loaded with approximately 18,300 containers. Images broadcast on Egyptian TV showed the captain and another crew member receiving a bouquet of flowers and a plaque aboard the ship.
“We regret the impact the delay of the trip has had on those whose cargo is stranded on board,” Shoei Kisen said in a statement.
“Throughout this matter, every effort has been made to minimize the delay and ensure the release of the vessel as quickly as possible. “
Wednesday’s release came a day after an Egyptian court lifted the judicial seizure of the vessel following notification from the Suez Canal Authority that it had reached an agreement with the owners and insurers of the vessels.
Officials have not disclosed details of the terms of the settlement. Initially, the Suez Canal Authority demanded $ 916 million in compensation, which was later lowered to $ 550 million. In addition to the money, local reports indicated that the canal would also receive a tug.
The money, according to the canal authorities, would cover the rescue operation, the costs of the traffic blocked on the canal and the transit fees lost during the six days that Ever Given had blocked the crucial waterway.
The Panamanian-flagged vessel was heading for the Dutch port of Rotterdam on March 23 when it struck the shore of a single-track stretch of the canal about 6 km (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the town of Suez. .
Her bow had touched the east wall of the canal, while her stern appeared to be stuck against the west wall – an extraordinary event which experts said they had never heard of to occur in the canal’s 150-year history. .
A massive rescue effort by a tidal flotilla aided by the tides freed the skyscraper-sized ship six days later, ending the crisis and allowing hundreds of waiting ships to cross the canal .
The blockade of the Suez Canal forced some ships at the time to take the long alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope to the southern tip of Africa, requiring additional fuel and other costs. Hundreds of other ships awaited the end of the blockade.
The shutdown, which raised fears of supply shortages and increased costs to consumers, has increased pressure on the shipping industry already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.