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Traffic in Suez Canal resumes after stranded ship refloated

  • Published at 08:13 pm March 29th, 2021
Taiwanese MV Ever-Given
Ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is seen after it was fully floated in Suez Canal, Egypt on March 29, 2021 Reuters

The 400-metre-long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal since last Tuesday

Shipping traffic through Egypt's Suez Canal has resumed after a giant container ship which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, the canal authority said.

The 400-metre-long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

"She's free," an official involved in the salvage operation said.

After dredging and excavation work over the weekend, rescue workers from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage succeeded in partially refloating her early on Monday using tug boats, two marine and shipping sources said.

Efforts to completely free her continued throughout the day.

At least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said.

The SCA has said it can accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given is freed. "We will not waste one second," Rabie told Egyptian state television.

He said it could take from two-and-a-half to three days to clear the backlog, and the canal source said more than 100 ships would be able to enter the channel daily. Shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel.

Evergreen Line said on Monday that the Ever-Given container ship would be inspected for seaworthiness after being dislodged from a southern section of the Suez Canal where it had been blocking traffic for nearly a week.