Ship Blocking Suez Canal Cleared, Reopening Key International Trade Route
Far ahead of initial estimates, the Ever Given, the gargantuan cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal, has been cleared, reopening the route to the several dozen ships held up by the vessel.
Canal officials report that the ship was finally moved at 3 p.m. Central African Time, or 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday. For nearly six days, a team of tow ships pulled the freighter nonstop until it eventually gave way this morning. It was initially unclear if the bow of the massive ship had been released from the sand below even after its stern was lifted. The Suez Canal’s water level changes with tides. The boat was eventually released when the water level as at its highest.
As the massive barricade held up hundreds of ships, canal officials feared a full-blown crisis as global supply chains slowed to a halt. A majority of the world’s goods make their way through the canal, and even a day’s stop could be disastrous for industry.
“I am excited to announce that our team of experts, working in close collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority, successfully re-floated the Ever Given on 29 March at 15:05 hrs local time, thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again,” said Peter Berdowski, chief executive of Boskalis, a firm assisting in the recovery effort.
Current estimates say the barricade cost global trade between $6 and $10 billion per day. Many ships were forced to travel instead along the far coast of Africa and around the southern Cape of Good Hope, which can add eight days onto voyages.
While the canal is now clear, ships still cannot pass. Due to the massive amount of sand displaces and the sheer size of the Ever Given, canal officials are performing additional safety checks to the canals structural integrity.