Giant ship blocking Suez Canal has been freed

CGTN
Salvage teams freed the Ever Given in the Suez Canal on Monday, almost a week after the giant vessel ran aground in one of the world's most important trade paths.
CGTN

Salvage teams freed the Ever Given in the Suez Canal on Monday, according to media reports, almost a week after the giant vessel ran aground in one of the world's most important trade paths.

Maritime services provider Inchcape told Bloomberg on Monday that the ship is at least partially refloat, the first step toward getting the world's most important trade arteries moving again.

A total of 10 tugboats participated in the refloating operation according to the Suez Canal Authority, with 27,000 cubic meters of sand being removed by diggers from the bank of the canal.

While the ship is at least partly floating again, it wasn't immediately clear how soon the waterway would be open to traffic.

Maersk, a shipping company who has been affected by the blockage, told AFP on Saturday that even if the Ever Given were dislodged, it would take between three and six days for the stranded ships to pass through the canal.

The company said that 32 Maersk and partner vessels would be directly affected by the end of the weekend, with 15 rerouted, and the numbers could increase unless the canal was reopened.

According to Lloyd's List, up to 90 percent of the affected cargo is not insured against delays.

Bloomberg reported that about 450 vessels are stranded in the Mediterranean to the north and in the Red Sea at the other end as well as in holding zones. Goods loaded on these vessels include oil, furniture, wood, and livestock.

Sweden's IKEA said it has 110 containers on the stricken Ever Given and other ships in the pile-up.

"The blockage of the Suez Canal is an additional constraint to an already challenging and volatile situation for global supply chains brought on by the pandemic," an IKEA spokesperson said.

Apart from goods, some 130,000 head of livestock on 11 ships sent from Romania have also been held up.

"My greatest fear is that animals run out of food and water and they get stuck on the ships because they cannot be unloaded somewhere else for paperwork reasons," Gerit Weidinger, EU coordinator for NGO Animals International, told British newspaper The Guardian.

Egypt, for its part, has sent fodder and three teams of vets to examine livestock stuck at sea, some bound for Jordan.

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