Giant container ship Ever Given stuck in Suez Canal 'partially re-floated'

Clay Curtis
March 29, 2021

The Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds almost a week ago, halting shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

Built in 1869, the Suez Canal is used by around 50 vessels per day, according to Panjiva, the supply chain research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Dredgers have been working on the port side of the ship in an attempt to remove sand and mud and dislodge the vessel.

A video posted on Facebook early on Monday appeared to show the stern of the container ship that had been stuck in the Suez Canal swung towards the canal bank, opening space in the narrow channel. The THSD Causeway, a dredger registered in Cyprus, was expected to arrive by Tuesday.

But despite progress the previous night in freeing the rudder and propeller, the vessel remains wedged across the canal.

Officials have been desperately trying to avoid unloading the vessel, which likely would add even more days to the canal's closure.

The cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal.

The Suez Canal Authority had earlier said in a statement that tugging operations to free the ship had resumed.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement maintains that their "initial investigations rule out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding".

Shipping costs mount as Suez Canal remains blocked by stranded vessel
So, if you're unclear on what the canal is, what's been going on and why it's significant- here's a breakdown. I'm sure other ships are on a much tighter schedule than we were.

Removing some or all of the cargo could add days to the effort to clear the Japanese-owned ship from the canal.

Consumers everywhere soon found that ordering online was an adventure in the unknown, with many factories shut down and trade between Chinese provinces stalled. With more than 360 ships waiting to enter the canal, which handles around 10% of global maritime trade, Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered preparations to begin to remove some of the 18,300 containers from the vessel. He said officials had been in talks with the United States about that possibility, without elaborating.

In the USA, the blockage could worsen months long snarls in the global supply chain, causing shortages of products such as toilet paper, coffee and furniture in the U.S.

An estimated 12% of world trade flows through the canal. Being stranded at this point, the ship resulted in the suspension of the worldwide maritime trade through the canal. Container ships accounted for 52.7% of the tonnage in 2019 transiting the canal including shipments from Asia to Europe and the U.S. east coast as well as vice-versa. Nearby Syria imposed fuel rationing on Sunday to safeguard dwindling oil supplies, after oil tankers were unable to make deliveries due to the blockage.

Meanwhile, the backlog of ships awaiting transit through the vital Egyptian waterway has grown to 327, according to Leth Agencies, the canal's service provider. At least 10 of those vessels carried livestock, raising concerns about the animals.

More vessels continue to arrive each day at the Red Sea and Mediterranean entrances to the canal, increasing the length of the queue for passage. It turned back two other ships and said it expects "some missed sailings as a result of this incident".

"Most major container lines are now diverting ships round Cape of Good Hope and warning of supply chain disruption ahead".

Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell reported this story from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and AP writer Samy Magdy reported in Suez.

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