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Engineers start to refloat ship stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal

Engineers start to refloat ship stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal”

The massive vessel, which is nearly the size of the Empire State Building, was on its way from China to the Netherlands when it ran aground last Tuesday morning near the southern end of the 120-mile-long artificial waterway that slices through Egypt's northeast corner, according to the Suez Canal Authority, which said a sandstorm and high winds had caused poor navigation and low visibility.

A work crew using excavating equipment tries to dig out the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that is wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway. According to a study by German insurer Allianz, each day of the blockage in the canal could cost global trade between $6 billion and $10 billion.

"The position of the ship has been reorientated 80% in the right direction", Rabie in a statement.

The blockade has lingered for nearly a week and has left hundreds of ships waiting on both sides of the canal which is a 200km shortcut from Asia to Europe, connecting the Red sea to the Meditteranean sea.

A top pilot with the canal authority, speaking on the condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to brief journalists, confirmed that the ship had been partially refloated and said that workers were still struggling to dislodge the bow.

The 1,312-foot, 200,000 metric ton Ever Given - almost a quarter-mile long - had created shipping nightmare and captured the public's imagination when it blocked the canal on Tuesday.

About 15 per cent of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is a key source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt.

After several days of unsuccessful efforts, some experts suggested it could be weeks before the Ever Given was freed - and some ships, unwilling to wait, chose to divert their journey around Cape Horn to avoid the canal.

"The rudder was not moving and it is now moving, the propeller is working now, there was no water underneath the bow, and now there is water under it, and yesterday there was a 4m (13ft) deviation in the bow and the stern", SCA's chairman General Osama Rabie told Egyptian state TV.

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"It is a good sign", he said, adding that 14 tugboats were deployed around the stricken vessel and salvage crews were working round the clock.

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There has been a "surge" in the number of vessels opting for the African route, Lloyd's List said Sunday.

"Most major container lines are now diverting ships round Cape of Good Hope and warning of supply chain disruption ahead".

A source involved in the salvage operation told Reuters on Monday they were re-ballasting the ship and expected that with a favorable tide, cargo would not need to be removed.

The effects of the crisis are already clear.

EverGreen. The ship is said to have run aground due to high wind but human error isn't completely ruled out at this point.

Romania's animal health agency said 11 ships carrying livestock out of the country were also impacted, while the charity Animals International warned of a potential "tragedy" affecting some 130,000 animals.



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