Ship Blocking Suez Canal Could Be Freed In Just Hours
Following days of blockages, issues and the inevitable memes, the cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal could finally be freed in a matter of hours.
The 220,000-tonne Ever Given became wedged in the canal in Egypt on Tuesday, March 23, after being blown sideways by high winds, causing a build-up of boats either side that were unable to pass through.
Workers attempting to free the vessel have been dredging the banks and sea floor to try and get it to float again as the high tide starts to go out, and with approximately 10% of the world’s trade impacted by the issue, pressure for its removal continues to grow.
While some have expressed fears that a successful operation may take weeks, Mohab Mamish, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s advisor on seaports and the former chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, offered a more optimistic outlook as he assured that navigation through the canal would ‘resume again within 48-72 hours, maximum’.
Speaking to the AFP news agency, per CBS News, Mamish cited his ‘experience with several rescue operations of this kind’ and said he knew ‘every centimeter of the canal’.
The ship’s owners, Japanese firm Shoei Kisen KK, said 10 tugboats had been deployed to help free the boat. At a news conference yesterday, the company’s president apologised for blocking the traffic and ‘causing the tremendous trouble and worry to many people, including the involved parties’.
Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine Corp, which is operating the ship on behalf of Shoei Kisen KK, hired the Dutch firm Smit Salvage and Japan’s Nippon Salvage to help with the removal operation.
Mamish’s comments come after Peter Berdowski, CEO of the company that owns Smit Salvage, said on Thursday that it was still too early to determine how long the ship may be stuck for.
According to Reuters, the CEO admitted that it ‘might take weeks, depending on the situation’.
Earlier this week, the Suez Canal Authority announced that all navigation through the canal would be ‘temporarily suspended’ until the ship was free.
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