Ship Blocking Suez Canal Moves Slightly, Unclear When It Will Refloat

The situation in Suez Canal hasn’t changed

Authorities did an effort to move the giant container ship blocking the canal, but we don’t know when the ship will be refloated.

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Ever Given is 400 metres (430 yards) long and got stuck diagonally across the southern section of the canal early on Tuesday. The ship blocked one of the busiest waterways in the entire world.

Dislodging the ship required dredging material from around the ship and pulling and pushing it with tugboats. These efforts provided minor progress on Saturday, per two SCA sources.

Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie told a local TV that the water had started running under the vessel. “We expect that at any time the ship could slide and move from the spot it is in,” he said during a press conference earlier.

About 15 percent of world shipping traffic transits the canal and hundreds of boats are waiting to pass.

Rabie hopes it won’t be necessary to remove some of the containers to lighten the load. However, tides and winds make things difficult.

“The ship’s stern began (on Friday) to move towards Suez, and that was a positive sign until 11 p.m. at night, but the tide fell significantly and we stopped,” Rabie told journalists in Suez.

Dredgers removed 20,000 tons of sand from around Ever Given’s bow. A Dutch firm is trying to free the ship and they hope to free the ship by the start of next week. They will need heavier tugboats and dredging.

Heavy Tugboats

The head of Boskalis, the parent company of Dutch firm Smit Salvage, explained that they would get heavy tugboats with a combined capacity of 400 tons this weekend.

“We aim to get it done after the weekend, but everything will have to work out exactly right for that,” Boskalis Chief Executive Peter Berdowski told Dutch TV program Nieuwsuur late on Friday.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Saturday thanked everyone for the help they offered.

If authorities don’t solve the problem these days, shippers will probably reroute their cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope. This adds about two weeks to journeys and increased fuel costs.

According to Rabie, 321 ships are waiting to enter or continue their way through the Suez Canal. Container ships, bulk carriers, and liquefied natural gas ships try to make their way through the canal.

Berdowski believes that a land crane may lighten the ship’s load. However, experts warn that this process will take too much time as it’s pretty complex.

“If we don’t succeed in getting it loose next week, we will have to remove some 600 containers from the bow to reduce the weight,” he said. “That will set us back days at least, because where to leave all those containers will be quite a puzzle.”

Rabie explained that empty container vessels with cranes may offload cargo.

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Source: The Epoch Times


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