‘She’s Free’: Ship ‘Ever Given’ Refloats, Reopening the Suez Canal
The Suez Canal has finally reopened to traffic.
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Giant container ship ‘Ever Given’, which had been blocking the busy the Suez Canal for almost a week, was refloated on Monday, 29 March, the canal authority informed, as per Reuters.
"She's free," an official involved in the salvage operation said. The Suez Cannel has finally reopened to traffic.
Maritime services provider Inchcape Shipping Services tweeted that the vessel is heading to the Great Bitter Lakes for further checking and investigation.
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 (SCA) said in a statement. The ship was en route the Dutch port of Rotterdam when it was knocked off course.
‘We Pulled it Off’: CEO of Firm Hired to Extract ‘Ever Given’
Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, firm hired to extract the giant ship, said, “We pulled it off!”
As per Associated Press, Berdowski, in a statement added, “I am excited to announce that our team of experts, working in close collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority, successfully refloated the Ever Given…thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again.”
As per Reuters, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said that at least 369 vessels are in line to transit the canal, which include several container ships, oil tankers, bulk carriers and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels.
Earlier in the day, ‘Ever Given’ was almost fully refloated and its engines were restarted. According to the chief of SCA, it will take 3.5 days to clear Suez logjam after the ‘Ever Given’ is refloated.
Sandstorm or Technical Errors?
Reports initially said that the 224,000-ton Panama-flagged ‘Ever Given’ was grounded on 23 March in the canal after losing the ability to steer amid high winds and a sandstorm, which led the SCA to announce on Thursday, 25 March, temporary suspension of navigation in the man-made waterway.
However, the Suez Canal authorities are now investigating whether strong winds were the only cause that led the ‘Ever Given’ to wedge itself between the six kilometre-long canal that links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
According to the BBC, General Osama Rabie said that weather conditions may not have been the “main reasons”, while adding that "there may have been technical or human errors."
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.
(With inputs from Reuters, Associated Press)
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