A cargo ship named Ever Given has been blocking the Suez Canal, which is one of the world’s busiest trade routes, for a week. On Monday, Ever Given was dislodged by salvage crews with the help of dredgers. Tug boats sounded their horns to celebrate the freeing of the 400m giant cargo ship. The Suez Canal is the link between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and hundreds of ships are waiting to cross the canal.
Last Tuesday, the ship weighing over 200,000 tonnes ran aground, causing logistical nightmares for world trade. The unfortunate event took place due to unclear visibility of the path caused by high winds accompanied by a sandstorm.
Dislodging the giant was a daunting challenge for the salvage teams. To refloat the Ever Given, a Dutch specialist team named SMIT utilized 13 tugboats, which are small and powerful vessels that maneuvers other vessels by pushing and pulling them. Also, around 30,000 cubic meters of mud and sand were removed from beneath the ends of the ship using dredgers. After much effort, Maritime services provider Inchcape stated that the most important part of the mission has been completed.
Ever Given Will Undergo Safety Checks At The Great Bitter Lake
One of the major concerns sparked during the dislodging process is that part of the ship’s cargo of around 18,000 containers will have to be removed to reduce the ship’s weight. But fortunately, nature was on Ever Green’s side! High tides were additional support for the work of tugs and dredgers. Early on Monday, the stern or the rear of the ship was freed. Hours later, the bow or the front of the ship followed, fully freeing the Ever Given amidst shouts of celebration. The ship was then towed to the Great Bitter Lake, and it will undergo safety checks there.
Although Ever Given was freed, the negative impact of the incident still remains. Nobody can surely say when the canal will be back to normal, or when over 450 waiting ships will be able to pass through. The only thing that’s clear is that all containers will be reaching their destinations much later than scheduled. As a result, the costs of shipping goods to Europe are expected to rise.
The Suez Canal directly affects around 12% of the world’s trade flow. Therefore, such a long blockage is indeed a horror story. Despite it being a far longer and time-consuming journey, many ships have decided to take the route around the Southern tip of Africa instead of the Suez.