Suez Canal freed up as Ever Given is refloated

Mar, 29, 2021 Posted by Ruth Hollard

Week 202113

The Ever Given, Evergreen’s gigantic container ship which blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week, was freed and resumed sailing at around 10:30 am on Monday, March 29, after a series of removal methods were employed by the Egyptian government teams that manage the channel.

Earlier, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) also stated that “navigation will resume immediately after the vessel has fully restored its direction” and that Ever Given will be routed to the Bitter Lakes waiting area “for technical inspection”.

The head of the channel’s management told an Egyptian TV station that the container ship was undamaged and the channel is navigable, according to Reuters news agency.

400 meters in length and weighing in at 220,000 tons, the mega-ship operated by the company Evergreen ran aground at km 151 of the channel on March 23rd amid strong winds and a sandstorm, thus blocking the passage of all other ships.

Companies specializing in maritime trade estimate that the economic losses directly or indirectly linked to the stranding exceed R$ 300 billion, according to the BBC. There are more than 400 vessels in line waiting for the channel to be unblocked.

According to the president of SCA, Osama Rabie, it will take three and a half days for all ships waiting in line to be able to cross the channel after they are cleared to continue.

But Maersk, the largest container transport company in the world, estimates it will take longer. “Assessing the current accumulation of ships, it may take six days or more for the entire group to pass,” the company said in a statement.

Maersk currently has three vessels stuck in the channel and 29 waiting to enter, in addition to 15 that have already been re-routed around the southern tip of Africa.

Stripping operation

SCA announced earlier that it had managed to push the Ever Given’s stern from 4 meters from the bank’s edge to 102 meters from the edge after “successful pushing and towing maneuvers that led to the restoration of 80% of the vessel’s steering”.

The channel manager also stated that they were going to take advantage of the high tide to finish the maneuvers, “allowing the vessel to completely restore its direction so that it is positioned in the middle of the navigable waterway.”

Sources: G1, Reuters, and CNN

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