Head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Osama Rabie, announced that the amount of compensation Egypt will seek for the grounded cargo ship crisis may exceed $1 billion.
The disclosure came in televised statement broadcast on the private Egyptian TV channel Sada Al Balad on Wednesday evening. The remarks coincided with the start of investigations into the causes behind the deviation of the cargo ship Ever Given, which led to the complete blockage of the canal for six days.
Rabie said: "The Suez Canal Authority will demand more than one billion dollars in compensation from the company that owns the ship in damages for disrupting the shipping route for six days, the cost of depreciation of dredgers and tugboats, and the continuous work of teams of technicians and engineers, in addition to damage to equipment and machinery."
He added that the committee set up to investigate the incident includes a navigation expert, a legal expert, an engineer and a compensation expert to estimate the losses and damage caused throughout the period of disruption to the Suez Canal shipping route."
Rabie pointed out that the SCA "managed to float the ship after six days without any loss of lives or damage to the vessel's equipment, but it was the Authority that lost millions of dollars every day."
The Egyptian official expected the investigations to be conducted over a period of no less than a week, in order to obtain copies of certificates, record of maintenance and accidents, history of equipment and devices on the ship, in addition to audio recordings before, during, and after the accident.
The Suez Canal is one of the most important waterways in the world through which an estimated 12 per cent of world trade passes.