Ever Given container ship finally sails through Suez Canal after deal reached

7 July 2021, 12:31 | Updated: 7 July 2021, 16:25

The Ever Given ship has finally made its way through the Suez Canal
The Ever Given ship has finally made its way through the Suez Canal. Picture: MarineTraffic / PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Ever Given container ship has finally successfully completed its journey through the Suez Canal after blocking the crucial waterway for nearly a week earlier this year.

Evergreen's ship, one of the largest of its kind in the world, began making its way through the canal at around midday local time (11am BST) on Wednesday and had successfully sailed through shortly before 4:30pm.

MarineTraffic, the world's leading tracking service, posted on Twitter: "The #EverGiven is finally making tracks in the #Suez."

Earlier in the day, the boat left the position it had been anchored in for more than three months after its owner and insurers reached a compensation settlement with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

It comes after the vessel ran aground in the single-lane stretch of the canal on 23 March, causing global disruption to trade.

Read more: Suez Canal ship finally given freedom after agreement reached

Read more: Suez Canal ship Ever Given 'grounded again', lawyers say

Ever Given was extracted six days later after a monumental salvage effort by a flotilla of tugboats.

But since being freed, the Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship - which carries cargo between Asia and Europe - had been ordered by authorities to remain anchored in a holding lake in the middle of the canal, along with most of its crew.

The owners - Shoei Kisen - and canal authority had been negotiating a settlement on the compensation the SCA was owed for salvaging the vessel, with the money covering the salvage operation, costs of stalled traffic through the waterway and lost transit fees for the week it was blocked.

At first, the SCA demanded $916 million in compensation, but later lowered that to $550 million. However, after drawn-out negotiations, the two parties reached an undisclosed settlement.

Read more: Ever Given ship blocking Suez Canal for a week 'partially refloated'

Read more: Vast container ship blocking Suez Canal is finally freed

Boats honk in celebration as Ever Given is freed and refloated in the Suez Canal

Both sides traded blame for the boat's grounding after bad weather, poor decisions on the part of canal authorities, and human and technical error all being dismissed as possible factors.

The six-day congestion forced hundreds of ships to wait in place for the canal to be unblocked, while some vessels were forced into taking the much longer route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa's southern tip, requiring additional fuel and other costs.

A ceremony was expected to be held at the Suez Canal to mark the departure of Ever Given, which is carrying roughly 18,300 containers.

According to reports, canal sources said the boat would be escorted by two tugboats and would receive guidance from two experienced pilots.