Operators of a 400-meter cargo ship say their vessel lost power and ran aground sideways in the Suez Canal, blocking a crucial waterway that is responsible for up to 12 percent of the world’s total trade. The waterway links Europe and Asia.
But media reports say the MV Ever Given has been partially refloated after tugboats strained Wednesday to free it and that traffic is expected to resume soon. The vessel, operated by the Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Corporation, ran aground Tuesday. Reports say the ship was heading northbound into the canal from the Red Sea when it lost power.
The reports say high winds blew the vessel, which is longer than the canal’s width, sideways.
The Suez Canal Authority says about 50 ships a day pass through the 193-kilometer manmade waterway, connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to the north. Dozens of ships were backed up because of the blockage.
Shipping companies tell the Reuters news agency some ships were being diverted to an older, alternative channel, while others were off loading cargo containers to trucks to get around the backup.
The canal is a major source of income for Egypt, which controls the waterway and collects an average of $700,000 per ship in tolls. The Suez Canal Authority says nearly 19,000 ships a year pass through it.