Published: Tue, March 30, 2021
Economy | By

Suez Canal: Ever Given ship finally freed

Suez Canal: Ever Given ship finally freed

The ship became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds on March 23, halting shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

The canal hosts around 12% of global trade and 8% liquefied natural gas transport through it each day.

"We are thankful for the extensive cooperation we received from the Suez Canal Authority, the salvage companies and other relevant parties in response to the accident", the company said.

A video posted on Facebook early on Monday appeared to show the stern of the container ship that had been stuck in the Suez Canal swung towards the canal bank, opening space in the narrow channel.

The crisis has forced companies to choose between waiting or rerouting vessels around Africa, which adds a huge fuel bill, 9,000 kilometers (5,500 miles) and over a week of travel to the trip between Asia and Europe.

Satellite images from last week showed the 1,312-foot-long ship with its bow wedged into the eastern bank at a diagonal across the roughly 656-foot-wide Suez Canal, choking off a crucial maritime trade route in new satellite images released Friday by Maxar Images.

A canal official, who requested anonymity, told AFP that the team on the ground had started technical checks, and were reassured that the ship's motor was working.

But Ihab Talaat el-Bannane, a former Egyptian admiral, cautioned that the accident had taken place in a part of the canal where the ground was rocky and hard to dig. Experts will examine the ship there. "We've just searched the bottom and soil of the Suez Canal and thankfully it is sound and has no issues, and ships will pass through it today", Rabie earlier told Nile TV.

The area has been placed under tight security, with extra military and police personnel deployed. Canal officials did not have to lighten the ship by removing its 20,000 containers.

Almost a week ago, the skyscraper-sized Ever Given got stuck sideways in the crucial waterway, creating a massive traffic jam. Insurer's fear that owners of the goods on board the Ever Given and other ships stalled will seek payment from their insurers.

Allianz warned the blockage was "the straw that breaks global trade's back".

Where did COVID-19 come from? The blockage held up billions of dollars in trade worldwide as hundreds of ships had to wait outside the canal.

While the likely impact of this incident on India is minimal for now, had the blockage continued for days and weeks, pressure would have mounted for certain industries that depend on Europe and the USA for critical raw materials or parts or for those industries whose turnovers are driven by exports to these countries.

Russian Federation offered assistance Sunday, following other countries including the United States that have made similar offers.

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

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