The ship that blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March is not allowed to leave Egypt for the time being. An Egyptian court ruled on Sunday that it was not competent to decide on the seizure issue, according to a lawyer.

The Panamanian-flagged Ever Given was refloated at the end of March after blocking the important shipping route between Asia and Europe for six days. The ship, which was on its way to Rotterdam, grounded in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes after a sandstorm.

The 400-metre ship has since been anchored in the Great Bitter Lake. The Ever Given was impounded due to disagreements between its owners and the canal authority SCA over compensation.

Also read: Evergreen: Suez Canal wants USD 300 million for damage to its reputation

New hearings

On Sunday, a court in Ismailia, a town on the canal, declared it had no jurisdiction to hear the case. It also dismissed an appeal by the ship’s owners against the seizure. It was also decided to refer the case to another court, SCA lawyer Naser Farag said. The new hearings will start on Saturday, he said.

According to the ship owners’ lawyers, the SCA made a mistake by allowing the Ever Given into the waterway on 23 March despite the bad weather conditions. The canal authority has repeatedly denied any blame for the incident.

200 million deposit

Initially, the SCA laid down a claim of USD 916 million, which included a 300 million salvage bonus and 300 million for reputational damage. This claim was later slashed to USD 600 million. Splash 24/7 reports that SCA chairman Osama Rabie told a local TV channel over the weekend he’d be willing to accept USD 550 million with a 200 million deposit.

Also read: Suez Canal: Container ship Ever Given can leave for 600 million dollars

Picture by SCA.

Source (in part): ANP