Traffic resumes in Egypt’s Suez Canal; Stranded ship Ever Given refloated!

By: |
March 30, 2021 1:56 PM

On March 23, the ship had become diagonally jammed across a southern section of the Suez Canal, which is known to be the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

Ever Given, Suez CanalWith the 400-metre-long Ever Given dislodged, as many as 113 ships were expected to transit the Suez Canal in both directions by early Tuesday morning.

On Monday, shipping resumed after tugs refloated a giant container ship- Ever Given, which had been blocking the Suez Canal for nearly a week. According to Suez Canal Authority (SCA) chairman Osama Rabie, with the 400-metre-long Ever Given dislodged, as many as 113 ships were expected to transit the Suez Canal in both directions by early Tuesday morning. A backlog of 422 ships could be cleared in three – three and a half days, he said. On March 23, the ship had become diagonally jammed across a southern section of the Suez Canal, which is known to be the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia, a Reuters report stated. Ever Given would be inspected for seaworthiness in the Great Bitter Lake, which separates two sections of the Suez Canal, according to Evergreen Line, which is leasing the ship.

After an initial inspection, the ship was ready for limited navigation and not a single container was damaged, Rabie said. But a second investigation will be more precise and it will show if it was affected, he further stated. A canal source was quoted in the report saying that rescue workers from the SCA working with a team from Dutch company Smit Salvage refloated the ship partially and straightened it in the canal at dawn on Monday. It shifted briefly back across the canal after several hours, before being maneuvered free by tugs as the tide changed. To refloat the 224,000-tonne container ship, sand of around 30,000 cubic metres had been dredged and to pull the ship free, a total of 11 tugs, as well as two powerful sea tugs, were utilized.

According to the technical managers of the container ship- Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (BSM), there were no reports of pollution or cargo damage. Vessels that were waiting to transit the Suez Canal include dozens of bulk carriers, container ships, oil tankers, LNG or LPG vessels. Within four days’ time, traffic would return to normal, Rabie said. Vessels that are similar in size to the Ever Given, which is one of the largest container ships in the world, could pass through the canal safely. The SCA would not change its policy on admitting such ships, he added.

According to the report, the prices of oil fell 1% after the ship was refloated while shares rose for Taiwan-listed Evergreen Marine Corp. It is said that nearly 15% of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is a crucial source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt. The report said that the stoppage was costing the canal up to $15 million a day. After the ship became stranded, shipping rates almost doubled for oil product tankers. The blockage in the canal has disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for firms that are already dealing with pandemic restrictions.

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