Science

Massive cargo ship wedged sideways in Suez Canal, blocking crucial trading route

Massive cargo ship wedged sideways in Suez Canal, blocking crucial trading route”

A photo posted Tuesday showed the Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given, a 400m long and 59m wide vessel, lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway as excavation trucks struggled to dig it out.

Shipping monitors MarineTraffic recorded that the vessel had been in the same position since at least Tuesday afternoon.

The Ever Given, which is operated by the Taiwanese firm Evergreen Marine and flagged in Panama, belongs to a modern class of massive cargo ships and can carry up to 220,000 tons of containers.

"It could also take some time to move the vessel given that it would be loaded nearly full", said Park Moo-Hyun, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment Co.in Seoul. Roughly 50 ships transit the canal each day.

Photographs released by the SCA also showed excavators onshore digging soil from the canal's bank, with the earth-moving equipment dwarfed by the giant hull towering above.

There was "a grounding incident" in the Suez Canal, said Mr Alok Roy, fleet director of BSM Hong Kong, the Ever Given's ship manager.

The canal, built in 1869 to connect the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, is the shortest maritime route from Europe to Asia. In 2014, two enormous container ships collided at the north end of the Suez Canal, and in 2018, a five-ship pile-up happened inside the canal after one ship's engine cut out, causing the others to run into the back of one another. "Looks like we might be here for a little bit".

The Suez Canal is one of the world's most important trade routes, providing passage for 10 percent of all global maritime trade.

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Tug boats scrambled to try to "re-float the vessel", according to Leth Agencies, which offers services to ships transiting the canal.

Canal authorities could not be immediately reached early Wednesday.

It has been a boon for Egypt's struggling economy in recent years, with the country earning $5.61 billion in revenues from the canal in 2020. In 2015, the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi completed a major expansion of the canal, allowing it to accommodate the world's largest vessels.

It's unclear what caused the ship to run aground.

From circulated images, it appears the Ever Given is stable and there have been no reports of damage to the container ship or its cargo.

Most of the cargo travelling from the Gulf to Western Europe is oil.

On a daily basis, up to about 600,000 barrels of crude flow from the Middle East to Europe and the United States via the canal, while volumes from the Atlantic Basin to Asia total about 850,000 barrels a day, according to Mr Anoop Singh, head of East of Suez tanker research at Braemar ACM Shipbroking.



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