Egypt seized the Ever Given in a financial dispute with the owners of the massive cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal last month.
The giant container ship will not be allowed to leave the country until compensation has been agreed with Japanese ship owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, the authority that manages the waterway said.
He did not confirm how much money the Canal Authority was looking for, but a judicial officer said they were demanding at least $ 900 million (£ 655 million).
Lieutenant General Osama Rabei, who heads the Suez Canal Authority, told Egyptian state television: “The ship has now been officially confiscated. You don’t want to pay anything. “
The amount of compensation takes into account the recovery operation, the cost of blocked canal traffic and lost transit fees for the week that Ever Given blocked the canal, authorities confirmed.
The order to seize the ship was issued on Monday by a court in the city of Ismailia on the Suez Canal, and the ship’s crew was informed on Tuesday.
Ismailia prosecutors have also opened a separate investigation to find out what led to Ever Given.
The Panama-flagged ship ran aground on March 23rd in the narrow canal that separates continental Africa from the Asian Sinai Peninsula.
On March 29, salvage teams liberated Ever Given, ending a crisis that had clogged one of the world’s major waterways and stopped billions of dollars a day in maritime trade.
The unprecedented six-day shutdown, which raised concerns of lengthy delays, shortages of goods and rising costs for consumers, weighed on the shipping industry, already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.
Lieutenant General Rabie told state television that the Canal Authority had not committed any wrongdoing.
When asked whether it was the shipowner’s fault, he said, “Of course, yes.”
Lt. Gen. Rabie said the agency’s investigation was expected to complete on Thursday. There was no immediate comment from the ship owner.
Additional coverage from Associated Press