The massive container ship blocking the Suez Canal in Egypt has been ‘partially refloated’ from the bank of the vital trade route in a last-ditch bid to take advantage of the king tide brought on by the supermoon.
The 220,000-ton Ever Given was freed by salvage teams early on Monday, nearly one week after the 1,300ft-long ship ran aground and choked off global trade, according to maritime services provider Inchcape.
‘The MV Ever Given was successfully re-floated at 04:30,’ Inchcape said in a tweet. ‘She is being secured at the moment. More information about next steps will follow once they are known.’
Tugboats and salvage crews took advantage of high tides early Monday to partially refloat the Ever Given, which carries cargo between Asia and Europe. It was unclear how long it would take to fully reopen the canal after moving the ship, which has been lodged in a single-lane stretch of the canal for nearly a week, blocking hundreds of vessels from transiting through the critical trade gateway.
The obstruction is estimated to be holding up around £6.5billion ($8.95million) each day in global trade and straining supply chains already burdened by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Delays in freeing a mammoth container ship stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal have highlighted still more pressure points in global trade, a year after supply chains were disrupted by the pandemic. Earlier, it was feared the Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship might be stuck for weeks.
More than 300 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, are still waiting to pass through the canal, while dozens more are taking the alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip – adding some two weeks and thousands of miles to journeys and threatening delivery delays.
The partial freeing of the vessel came after intensive efforts to push and pull the vessel with 10 tugboats when the full moon brought spring tide, Leth Agencies said, raising the canal’s water level and hopes for a breakthrough.
However, it was clear that challenges remained, as satellite data from MarineTraffic.com showed the ship in the same position, surrounded by a squadron of tugs with its bulbous bow stuck in the canal’s eastern bank
Officials said the operation made use of the high tides created by the full moon to dislodge the Panama-flagged Ever Given. Lt Gen Osama Rabei, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, said workers continued ‘pulling maneuvers’ to refloat the vessel early Monday.