The Ever Given Remains Grounded
Massive cargo ship totally blocks Suez Canal, creating a massive shipping crisis.
The Ever Provided, a giant container ship, has been trapped in the Suez Canal for more than 72 hours, prompting numerous attempts to free it.
According to Nikkei Asia, the ship's maker, Japanese firm Shoei Kisen, expressed regret for the disturbance and said that it hoped to release the vessel on Saturday.
Since early Tuesday, the vessel's bow and stern have been stuck at opposite banks of the river, entirely blocking the main channel of one of the world's most significant shipping routes.
As of Thursday morning local time, the Ever Given, a nearly 200-foot-wide, 1,300-foot-long cargo ship sailing under a Panamanian flag, According to Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the ship's technical officer, the ship went aground about 7:40 a.m. local time on Tuesday.
On Thursday, a Dutch engineering firm, Boskalis, was called in to help with the crisis.
In any given day, more than 50 ships travel through the 120-mile Suez Channel, transporting millions of tons of freight, accounting for around 12% of the world's trade value.
But not after Tuesday, when a massive vessel became stranded in the critical waterway. In the more than 24 hours after, the ship — a 1,300-foot-long, 193-foot-wide, 200,000-ton behemoth called the Ever Provided — has caused the mother of all traffic jams, forcing hundreds of ships to wait in the open sea and possibly triggering a global shipping catastrophe, according to analysts.
The Ever Provided, an ultra-large container ship, is still wedged sideways some 90 miles from the canal's southern portion, where it started its northerly passage from China to Rotterdam, Netherlands.
According to a statement issued Wednesday, Egypt's Suez Canal Authority blamed the incident on a "lack of clarity owing to poor weather conditions" triggered by a region-wide sandstorm and winds up to 46 mph.
“This resulted in the ship losing the ability to navigate and then grounding,” the statement added, adding that officials had opened the canal's initial channel to relieve traffic. The Egyptian government deepened the main waterway of the canal and opened a new 22-mile channel in 2015. The region where the Ever Given runs aground has only one street.
There were no collisions as a consequence of the grounding. In an effort to refloat the ship, eight tugboats have been dispatched.
Leth Agencies, which provides ship transit services via the Suez Canal and other straits, tweeted on Wednesday that two dredgers were also on their way to the Ever Provided to help with refloating operations. It later added that tug and dredging assistance is helping, but that "nothing is proven as of now."
GAC, the port agent, said on Wednesday that wind conditions and the size of the Ever Given were “hampered the operation.” It was announced at noon local time that the vessel had been partly refloated and that traffic would restart "as soon as the vessel is towed to another location."
However, the pause has already triggered issues, according to Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers.
“The anchorage on the canal's north and south ends is rapidly expanding. Per day that goes by, it gets worse and worse,” Madani said on the call. He said that 12 million barrels of crude oil have been trapped at the canal's north and south entrances since the blockage started.
“This would pose a big issue later on because the traffic congestion would take longer to clear,” he added.
Crude oil rates have risen by more than $1.50 a barrel since the canal's blockage, representing a nearly 3% spike, according to Anas Alhajji, a Texas-based energy analyst. He added that the increase was slight since merchants anticipated regular traffic to return shortly.
“It would be a challenge if it lasts a few days,” he said, “but from what I'm reading, it will be done in a few hours.”
According to Egyptian officials, the Ever Given, which is registered in Panama, is carrying 224,000 tons of cargo and is owned by Evergreen, a Taiwanese shipping firm.
"The bulb at the bottom struck through the canal's sand bank, so it's virtually beached," Madani said. "They fear toppling containers if they attempt to yank it out with tugboats."
The video, which was obviously taken from a ship near the canal, shows long lines of boats extending into the distance.
Massive cargo ship still stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal could take weeks to clear