Ship blocking Suez Canal moved in right direction, still not afloat

Egypt orders lightening stranded ship's cargo in Suez Canal

As a window for a breakthrough narrows with high tide receding this week, fears have grown that authorities would be forced to lighten the vessel by removing the ship's 20,000 containers - a complex operation, requiring specialized equipment not found in Egypt, that could take days or weeks. It's created a traffic jam of more than 300 ships as of Sunday and is costing billions in delayed shipments.

The SCA has said it can accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given is freed.

A giant container ship that has blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week has been refloated, raising hopes that the worldwide waterway will soon be clear. At least 320 vessels are waiting to pass through from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean or vice versa, costing billions of dollars a day.

Egyptian officials struck a more optimistic note, saying that crews plan to refloat the vessel later Monday.

Some shippers had made a decision to reroute their cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to journeys.

About 12% of the world trade volume passes through the Suez Canal, and more than 18,800 ships passed through the canal during 2020.

The Suez Canal is one of the world's busiest and most important waterways, and lost an estimated $14 million every day in transit fees.

Despite some predictions that the megaship could be refloated soon, Lloyd's List, a shipping data and news company, said on Sunday there was a "surge" in the number of vessels opting to go around Africa. "Some are starting to reject bookings", it said on Twitter.

The blockade has lingered for nearly a week and has left hundreds of ships waiting on both sides of the canal which is a 200km shortcut from Asia to Europe, connecting the Red sea to the Meditteranean sea.

"It is a good sign", he said.

Tugs And Dredgers Try To Free Giant Container Ship Blocking Suez Canal
This is a big deal because the ship's size and wind conditions could hamper efforts to clear the busy shipping route in time. A team from Boskalis, a Dutch firm specialised in salvaging, started working with the canal authority Thursday.

"Whilst the threat of Somalia-based piracy is now suppressed through a combination of military operations, application of BMP 5 (ship protection measures) and the presence of armed guards, an increase in maritime traffic through the area may present opportunities for Somali pirate groups to attack shipping", UKMTO said.

Overnight, several dredgers had toiled to vacuum up 27,000 cubic meters of sand and mud around the ship.

An official from the 200,000-tonne ship's owners, Shoei Kisen, said while the Ever Given "has turned", it "is not afloat".

But Rabie on Saturday said "technical or human errors" could have led to the grounding of the Taiwan-run, Panama-flagged container ship near the southern end of the 193-kilometer (120-mile) long canal.

Concerns rose over the weekend about the impact of the blockage on global supply chains.

Some 369 ships are now stalled as they wait for the canal to reopen, Rabie told the Al-Arabiya news channel Sunday.

Syria had already begun rationing fuel as the blockage of the Suez Canal has worsened the country's shortages.

Russian Federation offered assistance Sunday, following other countries including the United States that have made similar offers.

Apart from goods, some 130,000 head of livestock on 11 ships sent from Romania have also been held up.

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