Suez Canal, August 23 (Al Jazeera) – The giant container ship Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March, crossed the waterway again for the first time since it left Egypt after the incident.
The ship, en route from the United Kingdom to China, entered the canal on Friday among a convoy of 26 vessels sailing from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement. Another 36 ships crossed the waterway from the south.
A group of SCA senior pilots and two tugboats escorted the Ever Given throughout its journey through the canal, the authority said.
The Taiwanese-operated vessel, one of the world’s largest container ships, became jammed across the canal in high winds on March 23, halting traffic in both directions and disrupting global trade.
Once it was dislodged, the 400-metre (1,312-foot) vessel left Egypt on July 7, 106 days after becoming wedged across a southern section of the waterway.
Translation: In video…the giant Panamanian container ship transits successfully within the northern convoy during the return trip after unloading its cargo coming from the United Kingdom and heading to China #SUEZCANAL
Egypt released the Ever Given after protracted negotiations and a settlement reached between the SCA and the ship’s Japanese owners and insurers. It arrived in the Dutch port of Rotterdam on July 29 before heading to Felixstowe, England.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed publicly but Egypt originally demanded more than $900m in compensation, which it later reduced to $550m.
One employee of the SCA was killed during the rescue operation.
In May, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi approved a two-year project to widen and deepen the southern part of the canal where the ship ran aground to avoid any repetition of the crisis.
Egypt, which takes tolls from ships traversing the canal, said the crisis cost it as much as $15m per day, while maritime insurers estimated the hit to world trade to be in the billions.
Last month, the SCA’s Osama Rabie said the canal netted Egypt a record $5.84bn in the last tax year, despite the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on world trade plus the cargo ship’s blockage.
Roughly 15 percent of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
Friday’s voyage through the canal was the Ever Given’s 22nd in the waterway.