The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has agreed to allow three crew members of Ever Given, the giant cargo ship stuck in the waterway last month, to return home, the vessel’s German management company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) said in a statement on Thursday.
The container ship has been held in a lake of the canal since it was refloated on March 29, six days after it ran aground and blocked navigation in the waterway.
The detention was due to a legal dispute in which the SCA demands compensation of over 900 million U.S. dollars from the Japanese owner of the Panama-flagged vessel.
“Requests to allow the overdue crew to depart have been granted by the Suez Canal Authority,” BSM CEO Ian Beveridge said in the statement.
“Our utmost priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our crew. We are in regular contact with them and their families, offering all necessary support,” he added.
Beveridge noted that there are currently 25 Indian crew members aboard the vessel, all safe and in good health.
Earlier in April, two other crew members left the ship and returned home upon the SCA’s approval considering their personal emergency conditions.
Linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, the Suez Canal is a major lifeline for global seaborne trade since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa.