For the fifth day on Saturday, there was a massive cargo ship trapped sideways in the Egyptian Suez Canal as officials attempted to free the ship and re-open a vital waterway that restricts global shipping and trading.
In the meantime, the Suez Canal Authority’s head said that the Ever Given’s shooting down on Tuesday is “not the only reason” and seems to reverse contradictory estimates provided by others. Saturday, Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei told a news conference that the inquiry was still underway but that human or technological errors had been avoided.
The big Ever Given, a flagship of Panama carrying cargo from Asia to Europe, has been stuck into an area of a one-lane section, roughly six kilometers north of Suez’s city entrance.
Rabei said he couldn’t forecast the dislodging of the ship. A Dutch rescue company is trying to raise the yacht using high tug boats and dredgers.
Rabei told us that he was always confident that dredging could free the ship without having to remove its freighter but added:
“This is a terrible occurrence, we are in a very tough situation.”
When asked, “I can’t say, because I don’t know,” when they planned to release the boat and reopen the canal.
Shoei Kisen, the shipowner, said that it was considering withdrawing containers if all refloating attempts failed.
According to Bernhard Schulte Shipmanage, the ship’s management firm, and the channel services contractor Leth agencies, two efforts to release the ship failed on Saturday in the expectation that a high tide could lift the vessel.
Earlier, Bernhard Schulte said that important progress was made at the ship’s stern late Friday when its rudder was freed from sediment.
It says that around a dozen tugboats operated on the left side of the ship’s bow on Saturday amid dredging activities extracting sand and mud.
The canal president has already pumped about 9,000 tons of ballast water from the vessel.
After this congestion started, a maritime jam has increased to over 320 ships waiting in the middle of the waterway at both ends of the Suez Canal or on the Great Bitter Bay.
Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski, employed to remove the Ever Given company, said on Friday the company was looking forward to pulling a container ship free with heavy tugboats, dragging, and tides over a number of days.
On Friday night, Nieuwsuur told the Netherlands that the ship’s front is caught in sandy mud, but “the back has not been pulled completely into the barrel, and that is good so you can use the rear end to release it.
“We hope this will suffice in order to get the ship clear early next week, because of our mix (tug), the more land and high tide we will have.,” he said.
Berdowski said that if it doesn’t succeed, it will pull hundreds of containers from the ship’s front to lighten them, raising their vessels to make them easy to pull free.
He said that a crane had already been in the process of removing the containers from the dock. Bernhard Schulte also reported the arrival in Egypt on Sunday of a Dutch and an Italian tugboat.
In his first public comments on blocking the vessel, Egypt Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly described the ship as an unusual event.
On the first media tour Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority arranged a trip on the vessel’s location. A flotilla of tugboats and other relief vehicles emerged from a small distance compared to the submarine, which remembered the amount of effort taken to reopen the canal.
Shipmanagement Bernhard Schulte told Friday its initial investigation found that the vessel was hit by high winds and did not allow mechanical or motor failure. However, on Saturday, Rabei seemed to hold back the assessment and probe every possibility, even human and technological errors. A lengthy closing of the vital waterway will lead to shortages in the world’s transport chain. According to official estimates, around 19,000 boats crossed the canal last year. Around 10% of world trade moves through the river. The closure could impact the transport of oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe.
According to the data firm Refinitiv, several ships had begun to change course, and scores of ships had already been on the route.
The length of the blockage remained uncertain. Even after the channel’s reopening between factories in Asia and Europe’s customers, waiting containers would possibly enter busy ports and cause them to face more delays before unloading.