The container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March left the position it had been anchored in for more than three months on Wednesday to depart the waterway after the owner and insurers reached a compensation settlement with the canal authority.
A Reuters witness on board a tugboat saw the Ever Given container ship start to move north in the Great Bitter Lake, which separates two sections of the canal and where it has been moored with its Indian crew since being refloated on March 29.
The vessel, one of the world’s largest container ships, had become wedged diagonally across the southernmost, single-lane stretch of the canal for six days, disrupting global trade.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) demanded more than $900 million in compensation for the salvage operation and other losses, later lowered to $550 million. It held the ship under court order as it pursued the claim, creating a dispute with the ship’s insurers and Japanese owner Shoei Kisen.
After protracted negotiations, an undisclosed settlement between the parties was reached and the SCA announced that the ship would be released on Wednesday.
A ceremony was due to be held at the canal to mark the departure of the vessel, which is loaded with about 18,300 containers.
Canal sources said the Ever Given would be escorted by two tugboats and guided by two experienced pilots.