The 400-metre (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.
- The vessel is now fully afloat, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement
- Efforts will now get underway to restart shipping navigation, with more than 450 vessels waiting near the canal
The vessel is now fully afloat, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement. Tug boats hauled the giant vessel away from the side of the waterway, where it had been lodged since last Tuesday.
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.
“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.
The backlog has strained global supply chains already stretched by the pandemic as the route is a conduit for about 12% of global trade.
A Reuters witness saw the ship moving and a shipping tracker and Egyptian TV showed it positioned in the centre of the canal.
After dredging and excavation work over the weekend, rescue workers from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage succeeded in partially refloating her early on Monday using tug boats, two marine and shipping sources said.
“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.
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.
At least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who had not publicly commented on the blockage, said Egypt had ended the crisis and assured resumption of trade through the canal.
Oil prices were about one percent lower at $63.95 a barrel. Shares of Taiwan-listed Evergreen Marine Corp – the vessel’s lessor – rose 1.75%.
About 15% of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is an important source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt. The stoppage is costing the canal $14-$15 million a day.
Ship-tracking service VesselFinder has changed the ship’s status to under way on its website.