A giant container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday, blocking one of the world’s busiest trade routes in both directions for nearly 19 hours.
The 200,000-ton Ever Given was en route from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean when it got stuck sideways in the channel at around 5:40 a.m. GMT, according to the GAC shipping agent.
As of 11:30 p.m., data from the Marine Traffic vessel tracking site showed the vessel was still in the same position, with at least five tugs attempting to free it.
The vessel, operated by Evergreen Marine, is 400m long and 59m wide and its predicament has caused an increase in maritime traffic.
A photo posted on Instagram, apparently by a crew member on a nearby ship, showed a small excavator attempting to clear the ground along the shore to free the ship.
The caption read: “The ship in front of us ran aground crossing the canal and it’s now stuck on the side, looks like we could be here for a little while…”
The Ever Given is bound for the port of Rotterdam from the Yantian district in China and has so far passed through Taipei and Malaysia.
He was due to arrive in the Netherlands on March 31.
The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, providing the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. It is approximately 193 km (120 miles) long and crosses three natural lakes.
It was built by the Suez Canal Company between 1859 and 1869 and officially opened on November 17, 1869.
A US $ 8 billion megaproject launched by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to increase the capacity of the canal and attract more ships was completed in 2015.