Egypt races to free giant vessel blocking Suez Canal - GulfToday

Egypt races to free giant vessel blocking Suez Canal


This handout satellite images shows the stranded container ship Ever Given in Suez Canal, Egypt. CNES/AFP

Gulf Today Report

A giant container ship remained stuck sideways Friday in Egypt’s Suez Canal, as authorities race to free the vessel and reopen traffic in a crucial East-West waterway for global shipping.

Seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers are being diverted away from the Suez Canal after traffic was suspended through the key waterway where a large container ship has been stuck since Tuesday, data intelligence firm Kpler said on Friday.

The Ever Given, a Panama-flagged ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, ran aground Tuesday in the narrow, man-made canal dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula.

Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, investigating the situation in Suez Canal, Egypt.  AP

Three of the tankers are being diverted towards the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope, Kpler analyst Rebecca Chia said, adding that majority of the diverted tankers originally signalled for Suez Canal are now headed elsewhere.

Four of the tankers loaded cargoes from the United States and Qatar while the rest are not carrying any cargo, she added.

Six LNG vessels are awaiting entry at either side of the canal with another vessel called Golar Tundra being stuck in the Canal since Tuesday, she said.

“A total of 16 LNG vessels' planned transit via the Suez Canal will be affected if the congestion persists until the end of this week,” she added.


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“There will be considerable delays in the loading schedule at Ras Laffan for the start of April due to the congestion.”

The ship, owned by Japanese firm Shoei Kisen KK, has blocked traffic in the canal, leaving dozens of smaller ships stranded in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

Stranded container ship Ever Given is seen after it ran aground, in Suez Canal, Egypt. Reuters

The vessel’s bow was touching the eastern wall, while its stern appeared lodged against the western wall - an extraordinary event that experts said they had never heard of happening before in the canal’s 150-year history.

The ship ran aground some 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the southernly mouth of the canal, near the city of Suez, an area of the canal that’s a single lane.

The Suez Canal Authority, which operates the waterway, has deployed several tugboats in efforts to refloat the massive vessel, including a specialized suction dredger that is able to shift 2,000 cubic meters of material every hour.

As of Friday morning, the vessel remained grounded in the same position, with tugboats and dredgers still working to free it, according to Canal service provider Leth Agencies.

It reminded unclear when the route would reopen.


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