Traffic in Suez Canal resumes after stranded ship refloated
Egypt’s Suez Canal will reopen for shipping traffic in both directions on Monday evening after a giant container ship which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, with more than 400 ships waiting to pass through.
The Suez Canal Authority’s chairman Osama Rabie said the channel was navigable after the 400-metre (430-yard) long vessel Ever Given was freed undamaged earlier on Monday.
“The ship came out intact and it has no problems. We’ve just searched the bottom and soil of the Suez Canal and thankfully it is sound and has no issues, and ships will pass through it today,” he told Nile TV.
The authority informed shipping agencies that convoys of ships will resume running both ways through the canal from 7 p.m. (1700 GMT), two agents told Reuters.
The Ever Given had become jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
Live footage on a local television station showed the ship surrounded by tug boats moving slowly in the centre of the canal on Monday afternoon. The station, ExtraNews, said the ship was moving at a speed of 1.5 knots.
After dredging and excavation work over the weekend, rescue workers from the SCA and a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage had succeeded in partially refloating the ship earlier on Monday.
“The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Smit Salvage owner Boskalis, after the Ever Given was refloated.
The company said approximately 30,000 cubic metres of sand was dredged to refloat the 224,000-ton container ship and a total of 11 tugs and two powerful sea tugs were used to pull the ship off.