Breaking: Traffic in Suez Canal resumes after stranded ship refloated
Shipping traffic through Egypt’s Suez Canal has resumed after a giant container ship that had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, the canal authority says.
The 400-meter (430-yard) long Ever Given became 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 center of the canal on Monday afternoon. The station, ExtraNews, said the ship was moving at a speed of 1.5 knots.
“Admiral Osama Rabie, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announces the resumption of maritime traffic in the Suez Canal after the Authority successfully rescues and floats the giant Panamanian container ship EVER GIVEN,” a statement from the SCA said.
“She’s free,” an official involved in the salvage operation said.
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 using tug boats.
“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 meters 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.
Evergreen Line, which is leasing the Ever Given, confirmed the ship had been successfully refloated and said it would be repositioned in a lake that sits between two sections of the canal and inspected for seaworthiness.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the technical managers of the container ship, said there were no reports of pollution or cargo damage, and initial reports ruled out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding.