Ever Given container ship freed in the Suez Canal


A handout photograph made available by the Suez Canal Authority, shows floatation work being carried out on the Ever Given container ship which ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt, 28 March 2021. The Ever Given, a large container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal on 23 March, blocking passage of other ships and causing a traffic jam for cargo vessels. The head of the Suez Canal Authority announced on 28 March that efforts for the floatation of the Ever Given are continuing. Its floatation is being carried out by 14 tugboats that are towing and pushing the grounding vessel, it has on 27 March moved by two inches and the authorities hope that the ship will move further after the water starts running underneath it. Suez Canal blocked as container ship runs aground, Egypt – 28 Mar 2021

Asmaa Khalil, Mostafa Salem, Magdy Samaan, Ben Wedeman, Mick Krever, Jessie Yeung and Zamira Rahim, CNN

(CNN) — The Ever Given container ship has been dislodged and is now floating, after blocking the Suez Canal for almost a week, authorities said Monday.

Tug boats had spent several hours on Monday working to free the bow of the massive vessel after dislodging the stern earlier in the day.

Marine traffic websites showed images of the ship away from the banks of the Suez Canal for the first time in seven days following an around-the-clock international effort to reopen the global shipping lane.

The successful refloating was met with triumph and relief, as hundreds of vessels that have been trapped since last Tuesday prepare to restart their journeys.

“We pulled it off!” Boskalis, a salvage company which helped with the operation, said in a statement Monday.

“Boskalis announces the successful salvage operation of the grounded 20,000 TEU container vessel Ever Given in the Suez Canal,” the firm said, adding: “With a length of 400 meters and a width of nearly 60 meters, this giant ship had been wedged in this vital shipping route since 23 March 2021 blocking all shipping traffic.”

The ship is now being towed towards Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, where it will undergo an inspection, the head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie said, according to state-run Al Ahram newspaper. The vessel’s charter company will decide on the next steps once that has been carried out.

“The outcome of that inspection will determine whether the ship can resume its scheduled service. Once the inspection is finalized, decisions will be made regarding arrangements for cargo currently on board,” charter company Evergreen said.

The ship was refloated at 3pm Egypt Standard Time on Monday (9a ET), according to Evergreen.

Marine traffic websites show the ship moving at a speed of 1.5 knots towards the lake.

The rescue operation had intensified in both urgency and global attention with each day that passed, as ships from around the world, carrying vital fuel and cargo, were blocked from entering the canal during the crisis, raising alarm over the impact on global supply chains.

Promising signs first emerged earlier on Monday when the rear of the vessel was freed from one of the canal’s banks.

“The container ship began to float successfully after responding to the pulling maneuvers,” said Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), in a phone interview with state TV. “Once the ship is withdrawn, we will resume navigation directly, and we will take it to the Bitter Lakes.”

People at the canal cheered as news of Monday’s progress came in.

“Thank God the ship has floated,” one person could be heard saying in a video, as the surrounding boats blew their horns in celebration. “God is great. The ship has floated.”

Journeys will soon recommence

Ships that have been stranded in the Suez Canal will restart their journeys after the Ever Given anchors in the Great Bitter Lake, a Suez Canal Official told CNN on Monday.

“As soon as the ship reaches the waiting place in the Bitter Lakes … the 43 ships waiting in the Bitter Lakes will begin to move south towards the Gulf of Suez,” the source said.

The ships will be traveling in convoys northbound and southbound of the Suez Canal, as the Ever Given stands by for inspections.

The average number of ships that transited through the canal on a daily basis before the accident was between 80 to 90 ships, according to Lloyds List; however, the head of the Suez Canal Authority said that the channel will work over 24 hours a day to facilitate the passage of almost 400 ships carrying billions of dollars in freight.

The journey to cross the canal takes 10 to 12 hours and in the event the channel operates for 24 hours, two convoys per day will be able to successfully pass through.

Still, shipping giant Maersk issued an advisory telling customers it could take “6 days or more” for the line to clear. The company said that was an estimate and subject to change as more vessels reach the blockage or are diverted.


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