SUEZ- As dredgers worked desperately to free one of the
most giant container ships trapped sideways in the waterway which was
disrupting global shipping, a maritime traffic jam expanded to more than 200
vessels outside the Suez Canal on Friday (last week), and several vessels began
to change their course.
estimated that freeing the cargo ship, the Ever Given, could take up to a week
in the best-case scenario, and also stated that the vessel could suffer
structural damages while trapped. Although it was freed up on Monday- 29th
March. The Canal Authority stated that, it welcomed international assistance
including one from the US, but it did not specify what was provided.
Given, owned by a Japanese company namely- Shoei Kisen KK, got trapped on
Tuesday (23rd March) in a single-lane stretch of the canal, about 6 kilometers
(3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the Suez city.
authority collaborated with a team from Boskalis, a Dutch salvage firm. Tug boats
and specialized suction dredger were being used for the attempt to clear sand
and mud from the port side of the bow. Although media was prohibited by the
Egyptian authorities to visit the site.
to free it on Friday failed, according to Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the
Ever Given's technical manager. The company said that ‘’Plans are in the works
to drain water from the vessel's interior spaces, and two more tugs to arrive
by Sunday’’. Freeing the Ever Given is a
"massive task" that could take anything from five days to a week, The
Associated Press spoke with Capt. Nick Sloane, a maritime salvage specialist.
ran aground due to strong winds and sandstorm which reduced visibility. The
ship had previously encountered a power outage, according to GAC, a
multinational shipping and logistics firm, but it did not elaborate.
pilots were on board the ship when it became trapped, according to Bernhard
Schulte. According to shipping experts, such an arrangement is common, but the
ship's captain maintains ultimate control over the vessel. Over 100 ships were
enrooted to the canal, in addition to over 200 vessels were waiting near it to
to satellite data, the owners of the stuck vessel diverted a sister ship named-the
Ever Greet, to go around Africa presumably expecting long delays. Other vessels
were diverted to avoid overcrowding at the canal as well. Pan Americas, a
liquid natural gas carrier changed its course in the mid-Atlantic, turning
south to circumnavigate Africa's southern tip.
suffered by businesses.
of global trade passes through the canal, which is particularly important for
oil transport. The closure impacted oil and gas shipments from the Middle East
businesses had to suffer for the effects of the canal's closure on supply
chains that depend on on-time deliveries. The backlog of ships created a strain
on European ports and the international supply of shipments, which was already
strained due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the week after the Ever Given
became stranded, 49 container ships were scheduled to move through the canal,
according to the study. Companies may also opt for major insurance claims
as a result of the delay, as a ship like the Ever Given is normally insured for
$100 million to $200 million.
operation was more complicated because of the Ever Given's location, scale, and
large amount of freight, according to Sloane. Rather than unloading its
freight, which could take weeks, the operation could first concentrate on
dredging the bank and seabed around it to get it afloat again. That's because
the ship's structural clock is ticking as well, he explained.
Given's bow appeared to be touching the eastern wall, while its stern appeared
to be lodged against the western wall, according to satellite and images
distributed by the canal authority.
How was the
ship was freed on the 7th day (29th March), as they
attempted to dislodge the Ever Given, a Dutch specialist team, SMIT, oversaw a
flotilla of 13 tugs, small but strong vessels capable of moving large ships. Dredgers
were brought in and excavated 30,000 cubic meters of mud and sand from the
ship's ends. It was feared over the weekend that some of the ship's
18,000-container cargo would have to be removed in order to lighten the load.
high tides helped the tugs and dredgers in their work, and early
on Monday, the stern (back) of the ship was freed, and the great ship
swung across the canal to cheers. The bow (front) came unstuck hours later, and
the Ever Given was able to move out.