Two crew members from the Ever Given cargo ship will be allowed to return home to India because of urgent personal circumstances, Egyptian officials have said.
The pair work aboard the giant container ship that became stuck in the Suez Canal for six days last month.
Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has impounded the ship and is seeking some $900m (£655m) in compensation from its Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd.
Ever Given was freed from the canal’s sandy banks on 29 March and has since been anchored in the Great Bitter Lake, about halfway along the vital trade artery.
An investigation into her grounding was due to conclude on Thursday, but the SCA has already publicly blamed the vessel’s owners for the blockage and denied its workers were culpable.
The SCA confirmed on Thursday that two sailors would be allowed to leave the ship.
It added that it was “sparing no effort to ensure the success of the negotiations” and was cooperating with the shipping agency to make sure the crew’s needs were provided for.
The managers of the 400m-long, 220,000-tonne Ever Given have described the decision to impound her as “extremely disappointing”.
Ian Beveridge, its chief executive, said: “The SCA’s decision to arrest the vessel is extremely disappointing. From the outset, BSM and the crew on board have cooperated fully with all authorities, including the SCA and their respective investigations into the grounding.
“This included granting access to the voyage data recorder and other materials and data requested by the SCA. BSM’s primary goal is a swift resolution to this matter that will allow the vessel and crew to depart the Suez Canal.”