Giant cargo ship freed in the Suez Canal after a week of blockage

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Ever Given, one of the largest cargo ships in the world, was dislodged and refloated in the Suez Canal, Egypt, after a week of blocking the trade route, authorities confirmed on Monday. The container ship was wedged into the Canal after the strong winds blew it off course. It was stuck there for almost a week, blocking one of the most crucial trade routes in the world and costing billions of dollars to global trade. 

According to reports, the cargo ship Ever Given was dislodged and refloated into the Suez Canal on Monday. Tugboats worked on hours on Monday to free the bow of the massive vessel after dislodging the stern earlier in the day.

Ever Given, operated by a Taiwanese transport company, is one of the largest cargo ships in the world. It is 400m-long (1,312ft) and weighs 200,000 tonnes, with a maximum capacity of 20,000 containers. It is currently carrying 18,300 containers. It is believed that a strong gust of wind had blown the ship off course, but it is still not clear if the accident is attributable to human error or the forces of nature. 

The ship is now being towed to Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake where it will undergo an inspection which will determine if the ship can resume its scheduled service. 

The successful refloating was met with joy and relief, as hundreds of cargo ships had been trapped there since Tuesday without any transition route. Even though the ship has been freed, it is still not clear when the traffic will resume through the Canal. The Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned lodged in the stretch of the Canal was holding up $9 billion each day in the global trade, as the Canal accounts for 12% of the global trade.

As of Sunday, there were 369 ships stuck in a tailback waiting to pass through the 193km (120-mile) canal on either side of the blockage. The Suez Canal accounts for 30% of the world’s daily shipping container freight. That makes it the most important conduit for trade between Europe and Asia. Some 19,000 vessels passed through the canal last year, according to official figures.

Experts argue that Ever Given’s blocking of the Canal will not have any long-lasting effect on the global trade, it is less likely to derail the global trade as more and more people around the world are getting Covid-19 vaccines and the economies are reopening. The transient disruption in global trade has shown how vulnerable the global supply chains are.


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