Egypt demands $550 mil. from cargo ship owner

Egyptian authorities are demanding 550 million dollars in compensation from the Japanese owner of a cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March.

The large container ship Ever Given got stuck in the key waterway and prevented the passage of all other vessels for several days.

The Suez Canal Authority initially demanded about 920 million dollars in compensation.

The canal authority's officials held a news conference on Sunday in the Egyptian city of Ismailia, where the organization is based.

They said that more than 600 workers were needed to refloat the ship, and that the demand includes compensation for a worker who was killed when a salvage ship sank.

The officials argued that the amount they are demanding is appropriate.

They also said the ship's owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, based in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan, has offered to pay 150 million dollars.

The Egyptians said they will not neglect their rights, although they would like to maintain good relations with the ship owner, and intend to continue the negotiations.

Under a court decision, the Ever Given will remain in Egypt until compensation money is paid.