Economy

Stranded container ship 'refloated' after blocking Suez Canal for 6 days

Stranded container ship 'refloated' after blocking Suez Canal for 6 days”

She notes that it was an earlier closure of the canal, during the Suez Crisis in the 1950s, that led shipping companies to build ever larger "megaships" like the Ever Given.

Shipping traffic through Egypt's Suez Canal resumed on Monday after a giant container ship which had been blocking the busy waterway for nearly a week was refloated, the canal authority said.

While the Ever Given was stuck, many ships have been stuck waiting for it to clear, while some other ships had to take a different, much longer, route around Africa.

Satellite data from MarineTraffic.com confirmed that the ship was moving away from the shoreline toward the centre of the artery.

Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said crews were performing "tugging maneuvers" with 10 giant tug boats to free the grounded ship, which has close to 20,000 cargo containers on board.

Stranded container ship 'refloated' after blocking Suez Canal for 6 days

Teams using excavators and tugs battled to free the ship, hoping to refloat the vessel without having to remove its cargo - a complex and time-consuming operation that would involve handling thousands of containers far from the usual port facilities.

"We pulled it off!" said Peter Berdowski, the head of Boskalis, the specialty company that was asked to move the Ever Given.

Almost a week ago, the skyscraper-sized Ever Given got stuck sideways in the crucial waterway, creating a massive traffic jam.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the technical managers of the container ship, said there were no reports of pollution or cargo damage, and initial reports ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding.

Hundreds of container ships are stuck waiting to pass through the canal.

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The authority said earlier it would be able to accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given was freed.

While the canal is now unblocked, it is unclear when traffic would return to normal. Shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel. Even as salvage work continued, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who for days was silent about the crisis, praised Monday's events.

Futures for Brent crude, the global benchmark, were last down 2% to $63.28 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. benchmark, fell 2% to $59.77.

Egypt's Leth Agencies tweeted the ship had been partially refloated, pending official confirmation from the SCA.

It has blocked the Suez Canal since Tuesday 23 March.

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Egypt was estimated to have lost some $12-14 million in revenue from the canal for each day it was closed, according to the canal authority. Over two dozen vessels have opted for the alternative route between Asia and Europe around the Cape of Good Hope, adding some two weeks to journeys and threatening delivery delays.

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