Stranded Suez container ship 'partially refloated'

Monday, March 29

(Photo: Satellite image (c) 2021 Maxar Technologies/Getty Images)

Engineers on Monday managed to free the bow of the colossal container ship that was wedged in the Suez Canal’s eastern bank, blocking shipping in the crucial waterway for nearly a week. The MV Ever Green had been turned in the ‘right direction’, Egypt's Suez Canal Authority announced Monday.

"The position of the ship has been reorientated 80 percent in the right direction. The stern... moved to 102 metres (335 feet) from the shore," compared to its position four metres from the shore previously, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) chief Osama Rabie in a statement.

Satellite data from showed that the ship’s bulbous bow, once firmly lodged in the canal's eastern bank, had been wrested from the shore.

The partial refloating of the vessel came after intensive efforts to push and pull the vessel with 10 tugboats when the full moon brought spring tide.

The MV Ever Given, longer than four football fields, was wedged diagonally across the Suez Canal since last Tuesday, towering over nearby palm trees and strangling world supply chains.

The crisis forced companies to choose between waiting or rerouting vessels around Africa, which adds a huge fuel bill, 9,000 kilometres (5,500 miles) and over a week of travel to the trip between Asia and Europe.

A canal official, who requested anonymity, told AFP that the team on the ground had started technical checks, and were reassured that the ship's motor was working.

(Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)

The Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds nearly a week ago, halting shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

At least 369 vessels were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, Rabie told Egypt's Extra News on Sunday.

About 15 percent of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is a key source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt. The current stoppage has been costing the canal between $14 to $15 million a day.

Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with Covid-19 restrictions.

Some ship managers last week decided to reroute their cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to journeys and extra fuel costs.

A note from A.P. Moeller Maersk seen by Reuters said it had so far redirected 15 vessels around the Cape after calculating that the journey would be equal to the current delay of sailing to Suez and queuing.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has said it can accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given is freed.

Source: Newsday and Agencies