Suez Canal
Suez CanalFlash 90

On Tuesday, the Egyptian government impounded the massive cargo ship that last month ran aground in the Suez Canal, triggering a lengthy shutdown of the shipway and causing hefty financial loses.

The Associated Press reported that Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie stated the Ever Given vessel would be prevented from leaving Egypt until the owner, Japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. agreed to a compensation amount with the Egyptian government.

The vessel is now officially impounded," he told Egypt's state-run television late Monday. "They do not want to pay anything."

Rabie did not elaborate on the amount of money the Egyptian canal authority was seeking in order to release the ship. A judicial official pegged the figure at minimum $900 million, according to reports that were confirmed by Egypt’s state daily Ahram. The figure covers the salvage of the vessel, the financial losses incurred from backed up traffic, and a week of lost transit fees.

The Ever Given is owned by a Japanese company but operated by a Taiwanese shipping firm and flies a Panamanian flag.

It had been carrying $3.5 billion worth of cargo between Asia and Europe when it ran aground in the canal, with the front and back ends of the ship becoming lodged, a historical first for the artificial waterway. It took days for teams to free the ship, costing billions of dollars in shipping delays.

Rabie placed fault with the ship’s owner, saying “Of course, yes” when asked if they were to blame. He added that the canal authority’s investigation would be concluded by Thursday.