How Did a 400m-Long Megaship Get Stuck in the Narrow Suez Canal?

The Ever Given is almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

Updated
World
2 min read

Suez Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world, was blocked last week when a 400-metre-long, 224,000-tonne ship named ‘Ever Given’ – one of the largest container ships in the world – got stuck, causing a huge jam of vessels at the vital trade artery.

The ship ran aground after strong winds and a sandstorm caused low visibility and poor navigation, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement. The ship was en route the Dutch point of Rotterdam when it was knocked off course, CNN reported.

The Ever Given, at 400 meters (1,312 feet), is almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

The Suez Canal accounts for about 30 percent of global container ship traffic each day. The report said if the Ever Given isn't freed soon, the logjam could impact the oil market, shipping and container rates, leading to a rise in the cost of everyday goods.

The Ever Given has been wedged in the canal – one of the world's busiest trade routes – since Tuesday, BBC said. More than 300 ships are stuck on either side of the blockage. Some vessels have had to reroute around Africa.

According to data from Lloyd’s List, the blockage is holding up an estimated $9.6 billion of goods each day – or 400 million dollars an hour.

BBC reported that on Saturday about 20,000 tonnes of sand was dredged, and 14 tugboats pulled and pushed the Ever Given in order to try to dislodge it.

Initial reports said the 400m-long (1,300ft), 200,000-tonne vessel ran aground due to high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. However, General Osama Rabie, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said weather conditions were "not the main reasons" for the ship's grounding.

(With wire inputs)

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