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Lieutenant General Osama Rabie said the hulking Ever Given would not be allowed to leave the country until a compensation amount is settled on with the vessel's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd.
"The vessel is now officially impounded," he told Egypt's state-run television late Monday. "They do not want to pay anything."
On Monday, the head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) had reported on public television "negotiations" to obtain compensation for the damage suffered when Ever Given was stuck near 'a week across the canal, crippling traffic on this crucial seaway.
Rabie did not say how much money the canal authority was seeking. However, a judicial official said it demanded at least $900 million. The state-run Ahram daily also reported the $900 million figure.
Shipowner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. said the waterway’s manager seized the Ever Given after obtaining an order from an Egyptian court, comparing the move to an arrest. “They are still talking to us. So we will continue negotiations on compensation,” said Ryu Murakoshi, a spokesman for the company.
The hefty bill also includes maintenance fees and the costs of the rescue operation, Egypt's Al Ahram reported.
Traffic on the canal, which accounts for more than 10% of world trade, resumed on March 29 after the ship was refloated with the help of international experts.