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Japanese shipowner asks cargo owners to share cost of Suez damage

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese owner of massive container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week, halting billions of dollars in maritime trade, asks owners of the cargo it carries to share the cost of damages claimed by the Egyptian. authorities.

Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. said on Friday she had asked freight owners to share the damage under an agreement known as a general average declaration. The damage sharing system is often used in marine accidents covered by insurance. The company said it had informed a number of owners of the ship’s roughly 18,000 containers to assume part of the damages claim, estimated at around $ 916 million.

The shipowner said earlier this month that he had negotiated with Egyptian authorities over the compensation claim. The vessel, Ever Given, is being held at Great Bitter Lake, a large body of water midway between the north and south ends of the canal, for inspection and will not be allowed to depart until settlement is completed. reached, said Shoei Kisen. .

The company declined to disclose further details of the negotiations, including how much insurance is covered and how much it is asking freight owners to share.

The Ever Given was en route to the Dutch port of Rotterdam on March 23 when it struck the shore of a single track stretch of the canal about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the town of Suez.

A massive rescue effort by a tidal flotilla of tugboats freed the skyscraper, Panamanian flag and Japanese property six days later, ending the crisis and allowing hundreds of waiting ships to cross the canal .

The 25 Indian crew members of the ship who are still on board are all in good health, the company said.

The ship has sufficient food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and potable water, the ship’s technical management company, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, said in a statement Thursday.

Blocking the canal forced some ships to take the long alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope to the southern tip of Africa, requiring additional fuel and other costs. Hundreds of other vessels waited on the spot for the blockage to end.

The shutdown, which has raised concerns about supply shortages and rising costs to consumers, has added pressure on the shipping industry, already under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

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