The Suez Canal Authority and the owners of the Ever Given, the container ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal for six days, have agreed on a deal that will release the ship this week.
The SCA began the complicated process by demanding just less than $1 billion, but clearly that was only a negotiating tactic.
The Sunday announcement includes a non-disclosure agreement until the contract is signed, so the financial terms for the ship’s release have not yet been made public.
The Ever Given has remained just out of the canal traffic lanes, in Great Bitter Lake, since it ran aground in March and led to an unprecedented backup. The fallout caused by a blockage in the major worldwide shipping route has continued to affect global trade.
On April 13, Egypt, via the SCA, took custody of the ship and set the price the Japanese ship owners must pay for the resources used to free the Ever Given from its unplanned moorage.
The number shrank to $600 million, which was still not satisfactory for ship owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., which, after the deal was struck, said the Ever Given would be freed on Wednesday following the signing of the agreement.
An indication that the “ransom” is likely near a half-billion: Ahram Online, a news outlet in Egypt said the SCA recently moved the demand to $550 million if $200 million were to be paid immediately.
Undoubtedly, the crew remaining on the Ever Given is ecstatic. As of the weekend, there were 25 Indian sailors handling the ship’s duties. According to Business Insider, eight of those were brought in to take over for others needing relief or having finished their contracts.