Stranded container ship in Suez Canal yet to be refloated

News that the container ship Ever Green that ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday morning 23 March had been refloated and that shipping traffic could start again has proven incorrect. That is what officials of port authorities in the Suez Canal say. Dutch company Smit Salvage may send a team to Egypt to assist in refloating the giant vessel.

The ship Ever Given, which is 400 metres long and weighs 224,000 tonnes, ran aground on Tuesday morning in the southern part of the Suez Canal, lying at an angle across the entire width of the waterway, which was therefore blocked. A large congestion of other vessels ensued.

The Suez Canal Authority says the ship ran aground due to a lack of visibility resulting from a dust storm, with the wind speed reaching 40 knots, which led to the loss of the ability to steer the ship and then its grounding. Currently, eight tugboats are trying to refloat the vessel according to the authority.

Picture by Suez Canal Authority

Picture (top) by Instagram/Julianne Cona.

The 193-kilometre Suez Canal is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, accounting for about twelve per cent of global trade. Around one million barrels of oil and a large quantity of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are also transported through the canal every day. When the Suez Canal is closed, ships between Asia and Europe have to detour via the Cape of Good Hope, which can add weeks to their journey time. Oil tankers from the Middle East also make frequent use of the Suez Canal.

Smit Salvage

The Dutch company Smit Salvage, a subsidiary of dredging and maritime services provider Boskalis, may assist in salvaging the grounded container ship. Earlier on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Boskalis said that a team would be able to leave for Egypt on Wednesday afternoon if their help would still be needed and that the condition of the ship would then be assessed on Thursday morning.

Source: ANP

Picture: The ship is still stuck with the bulb against the shore. They are trying to make room for it with excavators (by Suez Canal Authority).

Also read: Huge container ship blocks Suez Canal

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.