Ship Stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal Endangers Worldwide Shipments –

Ship Stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal Endangers Worldwide Shipments

ISMAILIA, Egypt (AP) – A skyscraper-sized cargo ship traversed Egypt’s Suez Canal further jeopardized global shipping on Thursday as at least 150 other vessels needed to pass through the crucial waterway. they stood idle waiting for the obstruction to be cleared, authorities said.

The Ever Given, a Panamanian-flagged ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, ran aground Tuesday in the narrow man-made canal that divides mainland Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, efforts to free the ship with dredging, excavation and the aid of high tides have yet to sideline the container ship.

Egyptian officials and others were due to start work again to free the ship Thursday morning after stopping for the night.

Until now, the dredgers have tried to clear the silt around the huge ship. The tugs pushed the boat alongside him, trying to gain momentum. From the shore, at least one backhoe dug into the sandy banks of the canal, suggesting that the ship’s bow had crashed into it.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the company that runs Ever Given, said the ship’s 25-member crew is safe and accounted for. The ship had two pilots from the Egypt Canal Authority aboard the ship to guide it when the grounding occurred around 7:45 am Tuesday, the company said.

Channel service provider Leth Agencies said at least 150 ships were waiting for Ever Given to be cleared, including ships near Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea, Port Suez on the Red Sea, and those already trapped in the system. of canals in the Great Bitter Lake of Egypt.

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Cargo ships already behind the Ever Given canal will revert south back to Port Suez to free the canal, Leth Agencies said. Authorities hope to do the same to Ever Given when they can release him.

Evergreen Marine Corp., a major Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship, said in a statement that Ever Given had been overtaken by high winds when it entered the canal from the Red Sea, but none of its containers had sunk.

An Egyptian official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to report to journalists, also blamed a strong wind. Egyptian meteorologists said high winds and a sandstorm hit the area on Tuesday, with gusts of up to 50 kilometers (30 miles) per hour.

An initial report suggested that the ship suffered a power outage prior to the incident, something Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement denied on Thursday.

“Initial investigations rule out any mechanical or motor failure as the cause of the ground connection,” the company said.

Tuesday marked the second major accident involving Ever Given in recent years. In 2019, the freighter collided with a small ferry moored on the Elbe river in the German port city of Hamburg. Authorities at the time blamed the strong wind for the collision, which severely damaged the ferry.

The shutdown could affect oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Middle East, which rely on the canal to avoid navigating through Africa. The international benchmark Brent crude price stood at more than $ 63 a barrel on Thursday.

Built in 2018 with a length of almost 400 meters (a quarter of a mile) and a width of 59 meters (193 feet), the Ever Given is among the largest cargo ships in the world. It can transport about 20,000 containers at a time. He had previously been to ports in China before heading to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas, and cargo. It also remains one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign exchange. In 2015, the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi completed a major expansion of the canal, allowing it to house the largest ships in the world. However, the Ever Given ran aground south of that new part of the canal.

Tuesday’s stranding marks only the latest to affect sailors amid the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have been trapped aboard vessels due to the pandemic.. Meanwhile, the demands on shipping have increased, increasing the pressure on weary sailors.


Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.


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