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Stranded Suez Canal Ship Partially Refloated


A view shows the container ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, after it was partially refloated, in Suez Canal, Egypt, March 29, 2021.

Crews working to free a massive container ship in Egypt’s Suez Canal partially refloated the vessel Monday and turned the ship’s stern.

It was not immediately clear how quickly the ship, the Ever Given, would be able to resume its voyage or for the canal to return to regular operations.

Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, said in a statement that after “successful push and tow maneuvers,” the vessel’s stern had moved from 4 meters away from the bank of the canal to more than 100 meters away. Rabei described the ship as being 80% in the right direction.

Rabei said crews would work again along with high tide to try to get the ship “in the middle of the navigable waterway.”

The developments come after nearly a week of blocked traffic at the key shipping route connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

More than 360 ships were waiting to enter the canal as of late Sunday.

Egypt is eager to resume traffic along the Suez Canal, which brings in between $5 billion and $6 billion in revenue each year. According to a study by German insurer Allianz, each day of the blockage in the canal could cost global trade between $6 billion and $10 billion.

Suez Canal
Suez Canal

There have already been consequences from the blockage. Syria on Saturday said it had started rationing fuels as it awaited the delivery of oil cargo. Also affected were 11 ships from Romania carrying 130,000 sheep.

Some maritime firms responded to the delays by deciding to divert ships around the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern tip of the African continent.