The container ship Ever Given, which blocked traffic in the Suez Canal last week, is completely free and sailing again.
After the stern of the ship came loose this morning, the front is now also loose. The ship is underway under its own power. The rest of the shipping traffic is also getting going again, according to the canal authority. The Ever Given had ended up across the southern part of the Suez Canal in a sandstorm last Tuesday.
According to Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski, the “simplest” work in the Suez Canal was completed this afternoon, after the rear of the ship – four football fields long and weighing about 224,000 tons – was pulled out of the clay. This was successful because a heavy sea tugboat was deployed at the canal draft since this morning.
This morning, a second sea tug arrived, mainly pulling the ship’s nose to guide it back to the fairway carefully. Be careful because if too much pulling power was used, the ship could also break. Berdowski – from the Dutch maritime service provider Boskalis – compared that operation to returning a washed-up whale to the sea: “We really have to push the ship over that layer of sand and clay to the water.”
According to the CEO, that was the real challenge in the important trade channel in Egypt. All the more because it requires a lot of pulling power. The two sea tugs commissioned by Boskalis can stow around 400 tons together. Together with the eleven other tugs in the canal, they got the job done. The ship is currently sailing towards the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt for technical checks, reports Leth Agencies.
Cost of long file
Ever Given, weighing 224,000 tons, ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday (23/03) and lay right across the important shipping route between Asia and Europe for days.
The congestion created a huge queue of waiting ships on both sides of the Suez Canal. At last count, some 450 ships were trapped. “A dozen ships are waiting in the canal itself,” said Patrick Blondé, former director of the nautical college, saying it will “take at least a week for the traffic jam to be resolved for the time being” once the Ever Given ship is free again.
An expensive joke when you know that Egypt loses between 12 and 14 million dollars every day the channel is closed. About 12 percent of global goods trade passes through the Suez Canal. Normally, nearly $10 billion worth of goods are piloted daily through the 193-kilometer waterway between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
A long blockade can have major consequences for world trade, such as supply problems for shops and shortages of certain goods in the industry.
Some shipping companies chose to sail their ships around the South African Cape of Good Hope because of the blockade. Container carriers Maersk and CMA GGM, among others, took that decision to circumvent the blockade.