The ship Ever Given that, nearly a week ago, blocked the Suez Canal in Egypt, was detached yesterday, March 29, according to information from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA). Traffic on the route is expected to resume in three days. “Admiral Osama Rabie, president of the Suez Canal Authority, proclaimed the resumption of navigation traffic on the channel,” SCA said.
The huge freighter, 400m-long (1,312ft), was stranded diagonally in a sector of the south of the canal due to strong winds and a sandstorm that affected its visibility on the morning of last Tuesday, the 23rd.
Thus, traffic was blocked on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia, one of the busiest commercial routes in the world – around 12% of global trade passes through the channel – and companies were forced to redirect ships, which caused long jams.
Earlier this Monday, the 29th, rescue workers from SCA and a team from the Dutch company Smit Salvage worked to free the ship using tugs after dredging and extra excavations over the weekend.
The vessel was finally placed in the direction of the flow in the middle of the channel, with the stern and bow cleared, around 3 p.m., according to shipping officials. Horns blared in celebration while the freighter started to rise slowly towards the north of the channel.
According to Admiral Osama Rabie, “the channel will operate 24 hours a day after the freighter is sailing again”. “It will take three and a half days for all waiting ships to cross the channel,” he said. It will still be necessary to inspect the stability of the channel before resuming the flow.
Companies specializing in maritime trade estimate that economic losses directly or indirectly linked to stranding were billions of dollars. German insurer Allianz estimates losses of between $ 6 billion and $ 10 billion in one week.
The operation to free the vessel lasted five days and mobilized backhoes and dredging equipment, a group of tugboats and the partial removal of the vessel’s weight to try to facilitate the delicate engineering work, as the ship could become unbalanced or break, for example.
Among the more than 429 ships that were stranded at the site, there were several ships loaded with cellulose. Suzano’s president, Walter Schalka, had already said that logistical problems could hinder the shipment of cellulose and, consequently, the manufacture and distribution of toilet paper. Now, the market is on alert, following the developments in this case and what impacts it will continue to have in the coming days.