Suez Canal blocked after massive container ship Ever Given gets stuck sideways

Brenda Watkins
March 24, 2021

On Tuesday, the Suez Canal, one of the biggest waterways on the planet, had traffic clog up because a massive container ship (the Ever Given) got stuck.

"When a vessel runs aground Suez Canal officials are alone empowered to order and direct all operations required to get the vessel afloat", according to the Suez Canal Authority Rules of Navigation.

Evergreen Marine said the ship was "suspected of being hit by a sudden strong wind, causing the hull to deviate. and accidentally hit the bottom and run aground".

Shipping monitors MarineTraffic recorded that the vessel had been in the same position since at least Tuesday afternoon. Thousands of ships travel through the canal every year; more than 18,000 ships traveled the canal in 2018.

The Suez Canal is among the most trafficked waterways in the world, utilized by oil tankers shipping crude from the Middle East to Europe and North America.

Julianne Cona, who was aboard the Maersk Denver directly behind the Ever Given, shared an image of the vessel on Instagram.

"Ship in front of us ran aground while going through the canal and is now stuck sideways", she wrote on Instagram. "Looks like we might be here for a little bit".

The ship, built in 2018 with a length of almost 400 metres (a quarter mile) and a width of 59 metres (193 feet), is among the largest cargo ships in the world.

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Rabie stressed that the authority is exerting the utmost efforts to ensure the steady movement of ships through the canal in order to serve worldwide trade.

The journey between ports in the Gulf and London, for example, is roughly halved by going through the Suez - compared to the alternate route via the southern tip of Africa.

The Ever Given is blocking traffic in the Suez Canal. Satellite maps showed dozens of boats idling in the Red Sea and Mediterranean waiting for the canal to reopen.

About 42 vessels either in the northbound convoy or arriving to transit the canal northbound are now waiting for the grounded vessel to be re-floated, according to Leth Agencies.

In February, Sisi ordered his cabinet to adopt a "flexible marketing policy" for the canal in order to cope with the economic downturn caused by Covid-19.

From circulated images, it appears the Ever Given is stable and there have been no reports of damage to the container ship or its cargo.

In the opposite direction, it is mostly manufactured goods and grain from Europe and North America headed to the Far East and Asia.

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