‘Praise God’: Ever Given unstuck and moving in the Suez Canal
By Lia Timson
Updated March 29, 2021 — 3.31pmfirst published at 2.52pm
Egyptian workers have been able to refloat the Ever Given after it spent six days stuck in the Suez Canal.
The stranded container ship blocking the crucial trade route was refloated on Monday at around 5:42am (2:42pm AEDT) and is currently being secured, Inch Cape Shipping Services said in a post on Twitter.
The Suez Canal Authority had earlier said in a statement that tugging operations to free the ship had resumed.
Joyce Karam, a Washington-based senior correspondent with The National News in the United Arab Emirates tweeted videos of the giant ship moving slightly and of a pilot giving a thumbs up.
“Praise God, guys, the vehicle is working, the vehicle is working, guys!,” he says in the video. Another person off camera says “Praise God”.
A high tide had failed to float the ship as expected on Sunday.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi had a day earlier ordered preparations to be made for the unloading of the ship’s cargo.
Lieutenant General Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, told Egyptian television that officials were preparing for the “third scenario” of unloading containers so it could be refloated, opening up one of the world’s busiest waterways. The canal has been blocked since Tuesday, leaving more than 300 ships waiting to pass through.
The MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship operated by the company Evergreen, that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, got stuck in a single-lane stretch of the canal. In the time since, authorities have been unable to unstick the vessel and traffic through the canal that facilitates trade valued at more than $US9 billion ($11.8 billion) a day. The jam further disrupted a global shipping network already strained by the coronavirus pandemic. Some shipowners ordered their vessels to do a U-turn and sail around the southern tip of Africa.
Work to un-jam the canal of a backlog of other ships could take “days, even weeks”.
The salvage effort has truly become an international operation led by an Egyptian, Dutch and German team with tugs now from Italy and the Netherlands, mirroring the global shipping industry and the Ever Given itself. The ship is owned by a Japanese company and operated by a Taiwanese firm. Its crew is Indian and it sails under a Panamanian flag.
With Reuters, AP
Lia is Deputy Foreign Editor at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald
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