(Update 1: Changes headline and lede, adds Gulf Agency Company statement)
Cairo, Mar 28 (efe-epa).- Efforts to dislodge the mega container Ever Given, which has been blocking the traffic at Egypt’s Suez Canal for days, have made progress, although it remains stuck, one of the companies operating in the waterway said on Sunday.
“The ship’s rudder and propellers were this morning (28 March) reported to be free,” the marine services provider Gulf Agency Company said in a statement, after the Suez Canal Authority announced the failure of an overnight attempt to refloat the vessel.
“The front of the vessel was still submerged under the Canal bank with slight movement to the side but not to aft,” the statement read.
Head of the SCA Osama Rabie said that 27,000 cubic meters of sand had been dredged around the bow of the 400-meter long, 220,000-ton ship, reaching a depth of 18 meters.
Rabie said the efforts to release the Panama-flagged vessel, with the participation of 12 tugboats, will continue.
A fresh attempt to free the vessel is expected around 2 pm GMT coinciding with the rise of the tide, both GAC and Logistics company Leth Agencies said.
The Ever Given ran aground in the canal when the crew lost visibility amid strong winds and a dust storm on Tuesday.
The accident is preventing 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-kilometer waterway connects the Mediterranean and Red seas, providing the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe.