The cargo ship is still blocking the canal. But at least it moved for the first time.
Hope increased on Sunday that the container ship “Ever Geffen”, which has been stuck in the Suez Canal for six days, would be able to stand on its feet again at the beginning of the week. According to tracking apps MarineTraffic and VesselFinder, two more tugboats were on their way to the important waterway on Sunday to aid the recovery. Dutch specialist company Smit Savage, charged with the recovery process, is also counting on the spring flood that will start on Sunday evening.
The 400-meter-long container ship weighing more than 220,000 tons veered off course in a sandstorm on Tuesday and drifted near the banks of the Suez Canal. Since then, the waterway between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean has been closed, and not all ships in it can continue. The Egyptian Channel Authority has made efforts in full swing since Wednesday to obtain the “Ever Given” award for free once again.
Recently, more than 320 ships carrying billions of dollars in tonnage were stashed on both sides of the canal. The Suez Canal remains closed every day, according to a report by the insurance company Allianz. Global trade costs between six and ten billion dollars. According to the Canal Authority, Egypt is losing between $ 12 million and $ 14 million per day from the closure.
Big shipping companies are evading
The first tangible effects can already be felt: Syria announced on Saturday that it had begun rationing fuel supplies in response to oil delivery shortages. Animal rights activists are concerned about the fate of 130,000 sheep on board 11 Romanian cargo ships.
Osama Rabie, Chairman of the Securities and Commodities Authority, hopes that “Ever Geffen” will be on his feet again by Sunday night. He said on Egyptian television that thanks to 27,000 cubic meters of sand already removed from under the bow and with the help of about 12 locomotives, the ship moved 30 degrees to the left and right for the first time on Saturday. According to the rescue company, additional container emptying is also being considered.
Japanese company president Choi Kisen Yukito Higaki also expressed his optimism. On Friday, he said there were no steering and propulsion issues: “Once the ship is in motion again, it has to be operational.”
Upbeat undertones aside, several major shipping companies such as Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd are planning to move to the much longer route via Cape of Good Hope. French shipping company CMA CGM told Agence France-Presse on Sunday that it has decided to divert two of its ships through the Cape of Good Hope. Other routes to transport goods by air or “Silk Road” railways are being examined.
In light of the ongoing blockade, the US Army offered its support. White House spokeswoman Jane Psaki said on Friday that talks had already taken place with Egyptian authorities. A team of experts from the US Navy could be quickly sent to the Suez Canal – the central task of the Central Command responsible for the Middle East is the protection of commercial ships in the region.
The head of the channel operator has now ruled out that the sandstorm alone is responsible for the accident. Technical problems or “human error” may also have contributed to this.
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