WORLD / MID-EAST
Ship stuck in Suez Canal like ‘beached whale’ as firm hurries to free it
Published: Mar 25, 2021 06:03 PM
Efforts to dislodge a 400-meter-long container vessel that has choked traffic along the Suez Canal resumed at high tide on Thursday, with five tugs working to drag the vessel to deeper water, according to ship-tracking data.

The Ever Given vessel ran aground diagonally across the single-lane stretch of the southern canal on Tuesday morning, after losing the ability to steer amid high winds and a dust storm, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement.

It is now blocking transit in both directions through one of the world's busiest shipping channels for goods, oil, grain and other products linking Asia and Europe.

Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis, which is trying to free the ship, said it was too early to say how long the job might take.

"We can't exclude it might take weeks, depending on the situation," Berdowski told the Dutch TV program Nieuwsuur. He said the ship's bow and stern had been lifted up against either side of the canal.

"It is like an enormous beached whale. It's an enormous weight on the sand. We might have to work with a combination of reducing the weight by removing containers, oil and water from the ship, tug boats and dredging of sand."

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the technical manager of Ever Given, said dredgers were working to clear sand and mud from around the vessel to free her while tugboats in conjunction with Ever Given's winches are working to shift it.

Marine services firm GAC issued a note to clients overnight saying efforts to free the vessel using tug boats continued, but that wind conditions and the sheer size of the vessel "were hindering the operation."

Ship-tracking software shows five tugs surrounding the Ever Given and three more heading toward it. The ship's GPS signal shows only minor changes to its position over the past 24 hours, however.

Roughly 30 percent of the world's shipping container volume transits through the 193-kilometer Suez Canal daily, and about 12 percent of total global trade of all goods.
blog comments powered by Disqus