Container ship stuck in Suez Canal refloated

The massive container ship Ever Given has been successfully refloated after being stranded in the Suez Canal for almost a week, Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said on Monday.

The direction of the ship, which was stuck in the shallow side of the waterway, changed by 80 percent, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said in the statement, noting that efforts will continue in the coming few hours until the direction of the ship is 100-percent changed.

The SCA chief sent a message of reassurance to the international maritime community that “navigation in the canal will be resumed once the vessel is fully floated soon.”

The 224,000-ton container has been stuck and blocking the vital waterway since Tuesday last week, after it lost the ability to steer amid massive winds and a sandstorm.

The incident caused temporary suspension of navigation in the man-made canal, keeping at least 321 ships in wait.

Dutch firm Boskalis with its emergency response team Smit Salvage was hired by Ever Given’s owner to assist the SCA in the rescue operations.

The SCA said on Saturday that 14 tug boats were working on salvaging the grounded ship.

Linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, the Suez Canal is a major lifeline for global seaborne trade since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa, thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 km.

Some 12 percent of the world trade volume passes through the Suez Canal.

Earlier on Monday, ship tracking website VesselFinder showed in a map that Ever Given was moving in the Red Sea and said “the vessel is en route to the port of Rotterdam, sailing at a speed of 0.1 knot and expected to arrive there on March 31.