CAIRO (Reuters) -The cargo vessel that blocked global shipping in the Suez Canal and is caught in a legal dispute in Egypt is fit to sail once approval is given, its technical manager said on Wednesday.
The Ever Given was declared suitable for onward passage from the Great Bitter Lake to Port Said, where she would be assessed again before departing for Rotterdam, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) said in a statement.
The ship has been in the lake, which sits between two sections of the canal, since being dislodged on March 29. The 400-metre (430 yard) vessel was stuck in the canal for six days, blocking traffic.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Wednesday that negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement “may take some time”.
It has made a $916 million compensation claim against the ship’s Japanese owner Shoei Kisen, UK Club, one of its insurers, said.
The SCA has also obtained a court order to detain the ship as discussions over compensation continue.
“The SCA’s decision to arrest the vessel is extremely disappointing. From the outset, BSM and the crew on board have cooperated fully with all authorities,” BSM chief executive Ian Beveridge said in the statement.
“BSM’s primary goal is a swift resolution to this matter that will allow the vessel and crew to depart the Suez Canal.”
Taiwan’s Evergreen Line, which is the Ever Given’s charterer, said separately on Wednesday it was investigating the scope of the Egyptian court order “and studying the possibility of the vessel and the cargo on board being treated separately”.
Panama’s Luster Maritime and Japan’s Higaki Sangyo Kaisha, the vessel’s registered owners, have started legal proceedings in London’s High Court to open a limitation fund that lawyers say will serve as a cash pool of around $115 million to satisfy valid English claims.
Japan’s Shoei Kisen is the beneficial, or ultimate, owner of the vessel.
Two Suez Canal Authority sources told Reuters that the owner had offered $100 million in response to the Canal’s claim. Shoei Kisen declined to comment.
(Reporting by Jonathan Saul, and Nadine Awadalla, Kirstin Ridley and Yuka Obayashi; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Jon Boyle and Barbara Lewis)