| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Giant ship blocking Suez Canal finally freed

The giant ship, Ever Given, that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week has been finally freed, the Egyptian authorities said.

The 400m-long (1,300ft) ship was wedged across the canal before salvage crews dislodged her on Monday.

It was not immediately clear when full traffic could resume in the canal.

Suez is one of the world’s busiest trade routes, and companies were forced to reroute ships, causing long tailbacks of hundreds of vessels.

Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch salvage company Boskalis, said the Ever Given had been refloated at 15:05 (13:05 GMT) on Monday, “thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again”.

The vessel was towed to a location outside the channel for further inspection.

To refloat the 224,000-ton vessel, approximately 30,000 cubic meters of sand was dredged and a total of eleven harbour tugs and two powerful seagoing tugs were deployed, according to Boskalis.

Egyptian TV footage showed the ship aligned in a straight position along the canal.

Disruption to global trade will not end with the refloating of the Ever Given. According to Lloyds List, there are currently more than 370 ships waiting to pass through the canal, including container vessels, tankers, and bulk carriers. Clearing that backlog is expected to take several days.

Some ships have already left the region, preferring to take an alternative, longer route around the southern tip of Africa. They will be joined by other vessels travelling from East Asia to Europe – whose operators have decided not to risk waiting for the canal to reopen.

Inevitably, cargoes will be reaching their destination much later than planned, there may be congestion when they arrive in ports while future sailing schedules have been thrown into disarray.

The cost of shipping goods to Europe is expected to rise as a result. Industry experts are warning that the knock-on effects on delicately balanced supply chains could be felt for months to come.