Suez Canal remains closed as stricken container ship blocks shipping traffic

At the time of going to press yesterday (Thursday 25 March 2021) the Suez Canal remained close for all shipping traffic, as authorities pull out all options to refloat a mega container ship that ran aground in the canal on Tuesday late. Dozens of container ships, oil tankers and gas tankers are piling up on both ends of the Suez Canal hoping for quick success in refloating the mega ship, “Ever Given”.

An unexpected strong gust of wind and a sand-storm steered the Ever Given’s bow into the shallows of the Canal on Tuesday at 17:40 (Namibian time). The strong water current then pushed the stern onto the shallows on the opposite bank of the canal. The stricken Ever Given is effectively obstruction the canal (see picture herewith). the vessel was en route from China to the Netherlands when the incident occurred.
Efforts are ongoing to free the ship’s bow from the canal’s embankment and a small armada of tugs will attempt to pull the vessel off the embankment and refloat it.
If the Suez Canal remains closed for shipping traffic, shipping operators between Asia and Europe/North America will have to sail around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and north-bound in the Atlantic to offload and load trade goods. It will come at a time delay, increased cost and bottleneck situations in dozens of ports on the eastern United States coast, Europe and Great Britain. The distance between Asia and Europe is 6 200km via the Suez Canal and 10 800km around the Cape of Good Hope.

Note: the news channel Al Jazeera reported that an elite team of salvage experts from the Netherlands is now on the scene to coordinate the project to refloat the ship.

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