A gigantic cargo ship has been freed after being wedged across one of the world’s important trade routes for almost a week.
The Ever Given, a Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, got stuck Tuesday in a single-lane stretch of the Suez Canal.
The massive vessel was successfully re-floated today, according to maritime services provider Inchcape Shipping.
“More information about next steps will follow once they are known.”
A specialist US Navy team travelled to the Suez Canal to advise local authorities attempting to free the container ship.
Since it had become wedged, traffic through the canal — valued at $11.78 billion a day — has been halted, further disrupting a global shipping network already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Egyptian government agreed to accept an offer of help by American military dredging experts relayed through the US Embassy in Cairo.
“The Biden administration is tracking the situation closely. As part of our active dialogue with Egypt, we have offered US assistance to Egyptian authorities to help re-open the canal. We are consulting with our Egyptian partners about how we can best support their efforts,” a US official said.
Two additional tugboats sped yesterday to the Suez Canal to aid efforts to free the Ever Given, even as major shippers increasingly divert their boats out of fear the vessel may take even longer to free.
The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magno, called in to help tugboats already there, reached the Red Sea near the city of Suez early Sunday, satellite data from MarineTraffic.com showed.
The tugboats will nudge the 400-metre-long Ever Given as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side, said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given.
Workers planned to make two attempts yesterday to free the vessel coinciding with high tides, a top pilot with the canal authority said.