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Latest: Suez Canal Blocked by Container Ship

Egypt’s Suez Canal has been blocked by a large container ship that ran aground while turning in the narrow channel.

Update 29 March 2021

The vessel has been almost fully refloated and has restarted its engines, the busy waterway could soon be reopened.

The 400m long Ever Given has been straightened in the canal and will undergo initial inspections before being moved, two sources said.

Video posted on social media appeared to show the ship’s stern had swung around, opening space in the canal.

Update 28 March 2021

The rudder and propeller of the vessel have reportedly been freed. The team has also dredged 18 metres down into the canal’s eastern bank, where the ship’s bow is stuck solid. But with water now moving under the vessel it is hoped it can be floated today. A spring tide is due on Monday.

Update 27 March 2021

Reportedly, the dredgers have so far removed about 20,000 tonnes of sand around the bow of the ship, but the ship’s towing operation was suspended overnight. Work will continue over the weekend.

Update: 25 March 2021

A team of eight from SMIT Salvage are reported to have arrived in Egypt and are inspecting the ship and the surrounding canal area.

Peter Berdowski, the CEO of Royal Boskalis Westminster has said “The more secure the ship is, the longer an operation will take. It can take days to weeks.”

The incident occurred just north of the port of Suez early on Tuesday with several tug boats deployed to help shift the 59m (194ft) wide vessel, mv Ever Given, which has been causing a build-up of shipping traffic.

The waterway connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, providing the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.

The Ever Given, built in 2018 and registered in Panama, was travelling from China to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and was passing northwards through the canal on its way to the Mediterranean when it became stuck.

More to follow….

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