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Egypt seeks settlement out of court for Suez Canal blockage

The Suez Canal chief says that authorities are negotiating a financial settlement with the owners of a massive vessel that blocked the crucial waterway for nearly a week.

Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie tells The Associated Press he hopes talks with Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the Japanese owner of the skyscraper-sized Ever Given, will conclude without a lawsuit.

“We are discussing with them a peaceful resolution to the matter without resorting to the judiciary,” he says. He maintains that bringing the case before a court would be more harmful to the firm than settling with the canal’s management.

The canal chief said last week the Suez Canal Authority was expecting more than $1 billion in compensation, warning the ship would not be allowed to leave the canal if the issue of damages turns into a legal dispute. That amount takes into account the salvage operation, costs of stalled traffic and lost transit fees for the week that the Ever Given blocked the canal. He did not specify then who would be responsible for paying the compensation.

FILE – In this March 28, 2021, satellite file image from Planet Labs Inc, the cargo ship MV Ever Given sits stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt. Consumers may face shortages and higher prices for electronics, toys, furniture and other goods should attempts to free the mammoth container ship stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal drag on several weeks. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

The massive cargo ship is currently in one of the canal’s holding lakes, where authorities and the ship’s managers say an investigation is ongoing.

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