Ever Given, the giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March is finally resuming its voyage after the ship’s owners and insurers clinched a compensation deal with the canal authority.
Egypt had initially asked for nearly $1 billion but was later reduced to almost half that amount.
While the Ever Given’s first port of call will be Rotterdam in The Netherlands, witnesses say the ship weighed anchor shortly after 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT) and headed north towards the Mediterranean escorted by tugs.
The ship has been impounded for three months near the canal city of Ismailia.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Egypt had demanded $550 million.
The 193km (120-mile) Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea at the canal’s northern end to the Red Sea in the south and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
But the vital waterway was blocked when the 400m-long (1,312ft) Ever Given became wedged across it after running aground amid high winds. Global trade was disrupted as hundreds of ships were stuck in the traffic jam.
The container ship was refloated following a six-day salvage operation that involved a flotilla of tug boats and dredging vessels. One person was killed during the operation.
Since then, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has been seeking compensation from the Ever Given’s Japanese owner Shoei Kisen for the cost of the salvage operation, damage to the canal’s banks and other losses.