Remember that ship that had its 15 minutes of fame last month when it blocked the Suez Canal
, inspired a week of incredible memes, and threatened to upend the entire global economy?
As it turns out, although the news cycle has moved on and the iconic Twitter guy
has mostly stopped posting, the 18,000 containers that were on the Ever Given have been seized by Egyptian authorities and are being held, along with the ship itself and the 25 crew members.
Canyon has a shipment of bikes stuck on the Ever Given, a spokesperson said in March
, and Bird Cycleworks posted last week that there's a shipment of new hardtails aboard, too.
It was easy to imagine that the saga would end with the freeing of the ship, but that was just not the case. Once the ship was moved out of the way to the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt, the drama became more complicated. Now, behind the scenes, a logistical and administrative nightmare is unfolding.
When the Ever Given was cleared from the canal, the Suez Canal Authority seized the ship and demanded more than $900 million USD in compensation for the recovery effort, damage to the canal, damage to the canal's reputation, and lost revenue, though the nearly-billion-dollar figure hasn't been fully justified or itemized. Jai Sharma, a maritime lawyer with Clyde & Co, a London firm representing several insurers of cargo on board the Ever Given, told NPR
that he has never seen a salvage demand of this scale.
And the $900 million is just in the negotiations between the SCA and Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the ship's owner. Since the ship is loaded with 18,000 containers full of all kinds of consumer goods, there are myriad stakeholders and a lot
of lawyers and insurance companies involved.
Even when the financial side of things is sorted out, which may not be anytime soon, the actual removal of the containers from the ship will be tricky. The cranes needed to unload a ship of that monstrous size are not available outside of the world's major seaports, and certainly not at a lake in Egypt. The ship will need to be moved before the Canyon, Bird, and likely many other bikes are rescued.
The bike shortage is not new, and we knew the Suez Canal blockage would affect things even further, but the effects seem to be compounding in grimly surreal ways.