Cargo ship stranded in Suez Canal halts shipping between Europe and Asia

Hundreds of ships await the unblocking of the canal that prevents the maritime route through the African continent
Taiwanese container ship disrupts shipping in the Suez Canal

PHOTO/AFP  -   Taiwanese container ship disrupts shipping in the Suez Canal

Egyptian shipping sources announced Wednesday that shipping traffic in the Suez Canal came to a halt after a huge container ship ran aground, preventing the movement of ships on the waterway linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Official sources said the Evergiven container ship of the Evergreen company ran aground due to a sudden engine failure and hit the quay in the southern sector of the canal, and attempts are being made to float it to reopen the navigation route. of the canal.

The same sources expect that it could take several days for the ship to refloat and open the shipping lane to the Canal due to the bad weather conditions. Taiwan's Evergreen Marine added in a statement on Wednesday that the grounding of its container ship in the Suez Canal was probably due to sudden strong winds.

El carguero taiwanés varado en el canal de Suez causando interrupciones en la navegación
PHOTO/AFP - Taiwanese cargo ship stranded in Suez Canal causing shipping disruptions

Evergreen, which charters the container ship for specific periods, insisted that the company that owns the vessel told it that it believed what had happened was the result of "sudden strong winds that caused the ship's hull to drift out of the waterway and hit the bottom and drift". "The company urged the ship owner to report the cause of the accident and establish a plan with the relevant units, such as the Canal Authority, to help the ship get out of trouble as soon as possible," he added.

Egyptian shipping sources indicated that water had leaked into the ship after the collision and that efforts were underway to reduce the load so that the Suez Canal Authority could remove the vessel.

An image shared by one of the crew of a ship stuck in the canal shows the Evergreen getting stuck perpendicular to the canal, causing the traffic jam. The container freighter is 399.94 metres long and 59 metres wide, making it one of the largest container ships in the world. As reported by Reuters on its website, the 200,000-tonne Evergiven was heading from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean when it ran aground at around 7:40 am on Tuesday after it encountered a power outage. The company added that 15 other ships behind the stranded vessel in the northbound convoy were forced to dock until further notice. The company said a southbound convoy was also surrounded.

Esta imagen de satélite de Planet Labs Inc. muestra el buque de carga MV EverGiven atascado en el canal de Suez, cerca de Suez, Egipto, el martes 23 de marzo de 2021. Un buque de carga que se encuentra entre los más grandes del mundo se ha puesto de lado y ha bloqueado todo el tráfico en el canal de Suez de Egipto, dijeron las autoridades el miércoles 24 de marzo de 2021, amenazando con interrumpir un sistema de transporte marítimo
PHOTO/Planet Labs Inc. via AP - This satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. shows the cargo ship MV EverGiven stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

According to Vessel Finder, which specialises in tracking ships, the container ship was heading for the port of Rotterdam. The website, which allows you to check in real time the position of ships in maritime traffic, shows how the EverGiven is slowly manoeuvring out of position and breaking the logjam. The hundred or so ships that were scheduled to pass through between today and tomorrow are still waiting, a figure that may continue to grow if the tugboats and land-based resources do not manage to unblock the giant.

The Suez Canal, which opened in 1869, carries 10 per cent of international maritime trade traffic. Since its opening, the canal has saved thousands of kilometres of shipping traffic between Europe, East Africa and Asia, as its location avoids having to go around the entire African continent via the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Approximately 19,000 ships with a net tonnage of 1.17 billion tonnes crossed the Suez Canal in 2020, with an average of 51.5 ships per day, according to the Suez Canal Authority. Oil analysis firm Vortexa said 10 tankers carrying 13 million barrels of crude could be affected and the diversion would mean a 15-day delay. With the canal closed, Egypt would lose about eight million dollars every day.