Container blocking Suez Canal partially dislodged to clear vital trade route
Cairo, Mar 29 (efe-epa).- A massive container ship stuck across the Suez Canal for almost a week was partially dislodged Monday, Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority said.
Osama Rabie, the SCA head, said rescue teams were now working to straighten the course of the Panama-flagged ship, Ever Given, to clear one of the world’s busiest trade routes.
The vessel’s course has been readjusted significantly by 80 percent, while the stern has moved away from the canal bank by 102 meters, Rabie said.
He said the work was not complete as yet since efforts to fully dislodge the tanker were due to resume at 11.30 am local time (9.30 GMT) when the water level rises to its highest point of up to two meters.
That would completely change the 400-meter long and 220,000-ton vessel’s course, according to Rabie.
Ever Given ran aground in the canal when the crew lost visibility amid strong winds and a dust storm last Tuesday.
The blockade prevented a total of 326 other cargo vessels from passing through the major shipping route, pressing home the point of how vital a shipping artery the canal remains.
The 193-km (120 miles) waterway connects the Mediterranean and Red seas, providing the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe.
Last year, a total of 18,829 ships passed through the Suez with a total net tonnage of 1.17 billion tons, bringing in revenue of $5.61 billion.
The Suez Canal, inaugurated in 1869, is a major source of income in Egypt, alongside tourism. EFE-EPA