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The Container Ship That Blocked Suez Canal Is Set To Sail On Wednesday

NOEL KING, HOST:

The very large container ship that blocked Egypt's Suez Canal for more than a week back in March will start sailing again tomorrow. It took a massive salvage effort to free it, and the ship's Japanese owners have agreed to pay the Suez Canal Authority. Here's NPR's Joanna Kakissis.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OSAMA RABIE: (Non-English language spoken).

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: The Suez Canal Authority's chairman, Osama Rabie, told a private Egyptian television channel that he won't reveal how much compensation was paid in the deal. The two parties signed a non-disclosure agreement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RABIE: (Non-English language spoken).

KAKISSIS: Rabie praised the deal as important, saying it will preserve ties with the company and Japan. But Michelle Wiese Bockmann, a shipping analyst for Lloyd's List, is troubled that there are so few public details about this deal as well as the incident and the investigation into it.

MICHELLE WIESE BOCKMANN: Well, first of all, we need to know how it happened. I mean, these ships are worth tens of millions of dollars, and the trade that's upon (ph) them is worth - you know, one container ship the size of the Ever Given carries about, you know, 700 million to a billion dollars' worth of cargo. So we need to know why this happened.

KAKISSIS: Bockmann is also concerned that the Suez Canal Authority initially demanded $900 million in compensation.

BOCKMANN: Huge, unrealistic sums of money - so all of the questions that in any other industry would be raising alarm bells and people would want to be finding the answers to.

KAKISSIS: Nevertheless, the Suez Canal Authority is planning to hold a ceremony on the signing of this deal tomorrow.

For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis.

(SOUNDBITE OF ...OF SINKING SHIPS' "IT'S EASIER WITH NO DESTINATION") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.