The big, stuck ship is blocking bikes, too

Ruben Fields
March 29, 2021

If a combination of digging away the sand and pulling with tugs fails to free the ship, rescue teams might have to take off some containers to help it rise higher out of the water.

Attempts to refloat a megaship blocking the Suez Canal will resume with the next high tide around 2pm local time (7pm Thailand time) on Saturday, salvage experts say.

One source said there had been some movement at the bow of the ship.

Dredging of the bottom and the banks of the canal has now began to free the ship.

A specialized suction dredger, which can shift 2,000 cubic meters of material per hour, also arrived Thursday to support the operations.

Hamburg prosecutors opened an investigation of the Ever Given's captain and pilot on suspicion of endangering shipping traffic, but shelved it in 2020 for lack of evidence, spokeswoman Liddy Oechtering told The Associated Press.

Asked about when they expected to free the vessel and reopen the canal, he said: "I can't say because I do not know".

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ordered preparations for the possible removal of some of the ship's 18,300 containers, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie told Egypt's Extra News. He said officials had been in talks with the US about that possibility, without elaborating.

The company aims to free the ship "tomorrow (Saturday) night Japan time", he added.

This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Sunday, March 28, 2021. Suez Canal links the Mediterranean and Red Seas through Egypt, and it is the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe.

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Shipping rates for oil product tankers almost doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage has disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies.

About 10 per cent of world trade flows through the canal, which is particularly crucial for transporting oil.

During a press conference at the headquarters of the cabinet, Madbouly explained that worldwide expertise has been sought to cooperate with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and provide guidance in dealing with the accident.

This includes large oil and gas tankers that have also changed course in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean before diverting to go around the Cape, CNBC reported.

The paralyzing effect of the stricken Ever Given container ship on global traffic became clear on Sunday as nearby Syria, already scarred by years of war, imposed fuel rationing to safeguard dwindling oil supplies.

He said 321 ships remain in the Suez area and are waiting to pass through the canal.

Dozens of others still listed their destination as the canal, though shippers increasingly appear to be avoiding the passage.

Three shipping agents said on Saturday that none of the ships waiting at the canal's entrances had yet requested to be rerouted.

French shipping giant CMA-CGM told AFP Sunday two of their Asia-bound vessels would be re-routed around the Cape of Good Hope, and that they were considering air or rail transport for some clients. It turned back two other ships and said it expects "some missed sailings as a result of this incident".

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