Suez Canal: 422 Ships To Be Cleared in 4 Days

SMIT Salvage, a Dutch firm responsible for saving ships during storms, has taken the task to dislodge the ship.

Updated
World
3 min read
A cargo container ship that’s among the largest in the world has turned sideways and blocked all traffic in Egypt’s Suez Canal.
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Giant container ship ‘Ever Given’, which had blocked the busy Suez Canal for 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.

According to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), the backlog of 422 ships could be cleared in 3.5 days, Reuters reported.

One of the busiest waterways in the world, the Suez Canal, was blocked on Tuesday morning, 23 March, when a 400-metre long, 224,000-tonne ship, named ‘Ever Given’ lodged sideways after a gust of wind blew it off course, as per a statement by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

Suez Canal: 422 Ships To Be Cleared in 4 Days

  1. 1. Global Impact

    The Suez Canal serves as a crucial waterway for international trade, with vessels carrying everything, from crude oil to consumer goods. It also provides one of Egypt's main sources of income, alongside tourism and remittances from expatriates.

    The Suez Canal accounts for 15 percent of all international maritime trade and holds its importance in connecting the Mediterranean sea to the Red sea, reducing the travel time by half in comparison to the alternate route via Africa’s southern tip.

    Based on calculations by Lloyd’s List, traffic stopped on either side by the blockage costs more than 9 billion dollars everyday.

    The ‘Ever Given’ was stuck in the southern part of the canal, marking a setback for global supply chains due to the backlog of over a hundred ships.

    Oil prices fell 1 percent after the ship was refloated while shares of Taiwan-listed Evergreen Marine Corp rose, Reuters reported. According to the report, shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel.

    Owners and charterers of delayed ships face at least $24 million in expenses, they will be unable to recoup as their insurance policies will not cover them. Cargo owners could also face uninsured losses, industry sources said, according to the Reuters report.

    Analytics firm Kpler said more than 20 oil tankers carrying crude and refined products were affected by the disruptions, Reuters reported. Oil prices also rose by two percent.

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  2. 2. How The Ship Was Refloated

    Specialist salvage companies had been brought in to help refloat the ship. At dawn on Monday, 29 March, rescue workers from the SCA, working with a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage, partially refloated the ship and straightened it in the canal.

    After several hours it shifted briefly back across the canal before being maneuvered free by tugs as the tide changed, a canal source said.

    “The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented,” Reuters quoted Peter Berdowski, CEO of Smit Salvage owner Boskalis as saying, after the Ever Given was refloated.

    The company said approximately 30,000 cubic metres of sand had been dredged to refloat the 224,000-tonne container ship and a total of 11 tugs and two powerful sea tugs were used to pull the ship free.

    Previously, an attempt to refloat the vessel on Friday, 26 March, had failed, and that the salvage operation subsequently focused on removing sand and mud from around the port (left) side of the vessel's bow.

    SMIT Salvage, a Dutch firm responsible for saving ships during storms has taken the task to dislodge the ship. It’s speculated that the ship’s ballast water and even fuel might have to be removed to lighten the massive ship.

    As per data compiled by Bloomberg, around 185 vessels, mostly bulk carriers, container ships, and oil or chemical tankers were waiting to cross the canal a day after the ship got stuck in the canal. The BBC estimates that almost 237 vessels were waiting there on Friday.

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  3. 3. Indian Government's Plan

    According to news agency ANI, India had chalked out a four-point plan to deal with the situation arising from the blockage of the Suez Canal including advising ships to re-route via Cape of Good Hope.

    The plan includes the prioritisation of cargo, freight rates, advisory to ports and re-routing of ships.

    It was chalked out in a meeting convened by the logistics division, department of commerce, government of India Friday

    (With inputs from Reuters, Bloomberg, Lloyd’s List , BBC and ANI)

    (The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

    Expand

The Suez Canal serves as a crucial waterway for international trade, with vessels carrying everything, from crude oil to consumer goods. It also provides one of Egypt's main sources of income, alongside tourism and remittances from expatriates.

Global Impact

The Suez Canal accounts for 15 percent of all international maritime trade and holds its importance in connecting the Mediterranean sea to the Red sea, reducing the travel time by half in comparison to the alternate route via Africa’s southern tip.

Based on calculations by Lloyd’s List, traffic stopped on either side by the blockage costs more than 9 billion dollars everyday.

The ‘Ever Given’ was stuck in the southern part of the canal, marking a setback for global supply chains due to the backlog of over a hundred ships.

Oil prices fell 1 percent after the ship was refloated while shares of Taiwan-listed Evergreen Marine Corp rose, Reuters reported. According to the report, shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel.

Owners and charterers of delayed ships face at least $24 million in expenses, they will be unable to recoup as their insurance policies will not cover them. Cargo owners could also face uninsured losses, industry sources said, according to the Reuters report.

Analytics firm Kpler said more than 20 oil tankers carrying crude and refined products were affected by the disruptions, Reuters reported. Oil prices also rose by two percent.

How The Ship Was Refloated

Specialist salvage companies had been brought in to help refloat the ship. At dawn on Monday, 29 March, rescue workers from the SCA, working with a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage, partially refloated the ship and straightened it in the canal.

After several hours it shifted briefly back across the canal before being maneuvered free by tugs as the tide changed, a canal source said.

“The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented,” Reuters quoted Peter Berdowski, CEO of Smit Salvage owner Boskalis as saying, after the Ever Given was refloated.

The company said approximately 30,000 cubic metres of sand had been dredged to refloat the 224,000-tonne container ship and a total of 11 tugs and two powerful sea tugs were used to pull the ship free.

Previously, an attempt to refloat the vessel on Friday, 26 March, had failed, and that the salvage operation subsequently focused on removing sand and mud from around the port (left) side of the vessel's bow.

SMIT Salvage, a Dutch firm responsible for saving ships during storms has taken the task to dislodge the ship. It’s speculated that the ship’s ballast water and even fuel might have to be removed to lighten the massive ship.

As per data compiled by Bloomberg, around 185 vessels, mostly bulk carriers, container ships, and oil or chemical tankers were waiting to cross the canal a day after the ship got stuck in the canal. The BBC estimates that almost 237 vessels were waiting there on Friday.

Indian Government's Plan

According to news agency ANI, India had chalked out a four-point plan to deal with the situation arising from the blockage of the Suez Canal including advising ships to re-route via Cape of Good Hope.

The plan includes the prioritisation of cargo, freight rates, advisory to ports and re-routing of ships.

It was chalked out in a meeting convened by the logistics division, department of commerce, government of India Friday

(With inputs from Reuters, Bloomberg, Lloyd’s List , BBC and ANI)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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