Egypt rushes to dislodge giant ship blocking Suez Canal

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Egypt rushes to dislodge giant ship blocking Suez Canal


ISMAILIA, EGYPT – Tugs and a specialist suction dredger worked Friday to dislodge a giant container ship stuck sideways in Egypt’s Suez Canal for the past three days, blocking a critical waterway for global shipping.
The Ever Given, a Panamanian-flagged ship that transports goods between Asia and Europe, has run aground in the narrow canal that connects Africa and the Sinai Peninsula. It got stuck in a single track stretch of the canal, about six kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the south entrance, near the town of Suez.

The ship, owned by the Japanese company Shoei Kisen KK, blocked traffic in the canal, causing headaches for world trade.

About 10% of world trade passes through the canal, which is particularly crucial for the transportation of oil. The shutdown could also affect oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Middle East.

At least 150 ships were awaiting clearance for Ever Given, including ships near Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea, Port Suez on the Red Sea and those already stuck in the canal system on Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, a said Leth Agencies, which provides services for the channel.

The ship was stranded on Friday morning, Leth Agencies added. We still don’t know when the road would reopen.

An Egyptian Suez Canal Authority official called the work complex and said those trying to dislodge the ship wanted to avoid complications that could prolong the closure of the canal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The bow of Ever Given touched the east wall, while its stern seemed to be lodged against the west wall.

A team from Boskalis, a Dutch rescue company, started working with the canal authority on Thursday. Rescue efforts focused on dredging to remove sand and mud from the port side of the bow of the vessel.

The Suez Canal Authority, which operates the waterway, has deployed tugs and a specialized suction dredger capable of moving 2,000 cubic meters of material every hour.

The Suez Canal Authority said Thursday night it would need to remove between 15,000 and 20,000 cubic meters (530,000 to 706,000 cubic feet) of sand to reach a depth of 12 to 16 meters (39 to 52 feet). ). This depth is likely to allow the ship to float freely again, he said.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the blockage of Ever Given on Tuesday. GAC, a global transport and logistics company, said the vessel suffered a power outage without giving details.

Evergreen Marine Corp., a major Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the vessel, said in a statement the Ever Given was defeated by high winds as it entered the channel from the Red Sea, but that none of its containers had sunk.

The Suez Canal Authority also blamed the incident on bad weather.

Using data from the automatic identification system’s trackers on vessels at sea, data company Refinitiv shared analysis with the AP showing that more than 300 vessels remained en route to the waterway during the two weeks. following.

Some ships could still change course, but the crash of ships listing the Suez Canal as a destination shows an even larger backlog looming for shippers already under pressure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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