MV Ever Given, the enormous ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal between March 23rd and March 29th, has been released by Egypt over 3 months after salvage teams freed it.
After a sandstorm blew the ship into a diagonal position it couldn’t free itself from the Suez’s banks and the ordeal instantly started costing Egypt huge sums. It’s been estimated that between $12 million to $15 million in revenue was lost each day.
Consequently, the Egyptian government had refused to release the boat, owned by a Japanese company, demanding compensation. It was not just the missed revenues caused by blocking the boat, but the extensive damage caused to the canal that also dealt a financial blow to Cairo.
Egypt initially demanded $900 million in compensation but eventually lowered its claim to $550 million.
The lawyers representing the MV Ever Given’s operators released a statement saying an agreement had been reached and the boat was preparing for release.
Despite the ordeal, which disrupted global trade for almost a week, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has insisted that the southern stretch of the canal where the boat got stuck will not be widened.
The episode highlighted the vulnerability of the global supply lines on which the international capitalist system is built. While the wholesale transfer of industry and manufacturing to the second and third world might have been good for corporate profits, it threatens massive dislocation and chaos in the case of any disruption.