Egypt is pushing for the Japanese owners of the Ever Given ship to come to a deal, alleging the vessel was going too fast when it halted traffic through the Suez Canal.
The ship was sailing north through the Suez Canal on March 23 when it ran aground and became stuck. It halted all shipments through the waterway until March 29.
Japanese owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha blamed bad weather for the grounding.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has blamed the ship’s captain – and demanded compensation.
Initially, Egypt asked for $916 million. It subsequently reduced this to $550mn as of May 29. The amount is based on the value of goods on the ship and the ship itself.
Egypt has asked for an initial payment of $200mn, with another $350mn paid in letters of guarantee from an Egyptian bank. The Japanese company has not yet accepted the suggestion.
The SCA held a press conference saying that it was working on pursuing its rights through the courts, while also negotiating with the aim of reaching an agreement.
Compensation claims were based on losses incurred during the rescue and fair remuneration for the work involved.
A court on May 29 ruled to adjourn the hearing in order to hear new evidence and to allow time for negotiation.
The SCA officials said the ship had not suffered from any major technical problems. They also denied that weather had an impact on the Ever Given. It had been preceded by 12 other ships, which had made the crossing safely.
SCA head Osama Rabie was more explicit in an interview with Reuters. Rabie said the captain of the Ever Given had been going too fast and that the rudder was not the right size for the ship.
The Ever Given has been seized by the Egyptian court. It will remain in the Great Bitter Lakes area, the statement said.