FILE PHOTO: The vessel Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, is seen after being fully floated in the Suez Canal, Egypt, March 29, 2021. REUTERS / Mohamed Abd El Ghany

ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) – An Egyptian court on Saturday postponed a hearing in a compensation case filed by Suez Canal authorities against the owners of a container ship that blocked the canal for six days in March, giving parties have more time to negotiate, legal sources said.

On March 23, the Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, got stuck across the canal by high winds, disrupting two-way traffic and disrupting global trade.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) initially sought $ 916 million in compensation from Japanese owner of Ever Given, Shoei Kisen, for the disruption caused by the blockage.

But earlier this week, the SCA said it would be prepared to accept $ 550 million, including a $ 200 million deposit made to secure the release of the vessel and the remaining amount payable by letters of credit.

SCA chairman Osama Rabie said Shoei Kisen offered to pay $ 150 million.

A lawyer representing the shipowner said both sides had requested a postponement of Saturday’s hearing to allow for further negotiations.

“Both parties have asked for the deadline, and we have not yet determined the amount of compensation, and this will be done after holding several new sessions of negotiations with the Suez Canal,” the lawyer said, asking not to be identified.

The court has now scheduled the hearing for June 20, the SCA said on its Facebook page.

Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Written by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Helen Popper

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