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Egypt Confiscates Ever Given in Dispute Over Compensation

Ship damaged Suez Canal, cost other companies, and added pollution
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2021 3:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – The ship that shut down the Suez Canal last month when it ran aground has been taken over by Egypt in a battle over compensation. Egypt wants about $1 billion from the ship's Japanese owners and insurers to cover damage the Ever Given did to the canal, the cost of the rescue efforts, and business lost over the six days it was stuck, the Wall Street Journal reports. "They don’t want to pay anything," said Osama Rabie of the Suez Canal Authority. A statement by the Ever Given’s owners and insurers on Tuesday disputed that, saying they had been negotiating in good faith and expressing disappointment in Egypt's action. Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the company that owns the ship, said that an Egyptian court had granted an order allowing the canal authority to seize the Ever Given, and that negotiations are continuing. One of the insurers says 25 crew members remain on board.

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There was environmental damage, too, per the BBC. The 350 or so blocked ships caused a jump in pollution that could be seen from space. A byproduct of the heavy fuel oils the ships burn, sulphur dioxide hit five times the normal levels on the Mediterranean side of the Suez Canal. Even without the ships' main engines running, auxiliary power units and boilers brought a buildup in the area that was spotted by a European Union satellite. "When the ships are moving, when they're actually cruising, they are emitting more sulphur dioxide than when they're just hotelling," an expert says. But so many ships in one place still produced enough pollution to be a problem. In the air, sulphur oxides are a factor in respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Combined with water in the atmosphere, the resulting rain is harmful to aquatic species, as well as crops and forests. The industry plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 from 2008 levels. (Read more Suez canal stories.)

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