Suez Canal blockage: Investigators analyzing Ever Given’s black box that could hold key to costly grounding

The investigation into the grounding of a massive container ship that blocked access to the Suez Canal for almost a week has turned to the black box aboard the Ever Given.

Osama Rabie, chairman of Suez Canal Authority, said an analysis of the ship’s data is underway and should provide crucial details surrounding the grounding. An initial report on the costly accident could be released this week, he said.

Rabie also repeated his claim that the grounding cost his agency and Egypt $1 billion. That does not include losses faced by owners of more than 400 ships delayed by the blockage or the losses to owners of cargo on those ships. The blockage held up an estimated $400 million per hour in international trade, according to the German insurer Allianz.

The Ever Given is docked in a canal holding lake while the investigation takes place. Rabie suggested that failure of the ship’s owners to reach an accord on damages could trigger court proceedings and delay for a year or more release of the cargo – almost 20,000, 20-foot long containers carrying goods valued at more than $3 billion.

“”We are discussing with them a peaceful resolution to the matter without resorting to the judiciary,” he said, saying Egypt must recoup costs from the work done to free the ship plus suspension of navigation in the canal.

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The canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, provides passage to about 12% of the world’s cargo. More than 18,000 ships passed through the waterway last year.

The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, apparently spun in high winds while navigating a narrow section of the canal on March 23. The 1,300-foot-long, 220,000-ton ship’s bow went aground on the canal’s eastern bank, the stern on the western bank. It took six days of dredging, favorable tides and a dozen tugboats pulling to free the vessel.

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