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The ship blocking the Suez Canal is finally on the move

Shipping 2021-03-30 256 0

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Reference:CGTN | Updated:30 Mar 2021

The ship which blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week was freed Monday. Ever Given was refloated as more than 400 ships waited to pass along the waterway. 

Billions of dollars a day in maritime commerce were halted. High-winds are being blamed for jamming the ship diagonally last Tuesday. The grounded ship stopped traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. 

At least 113 of over 420 vessels backed up are expected to cross the canal by Tuesday morning. It could take at least another 10 days to clear the backlog on either end.The 1,290ft (400-metre) ship is headed for inspection.

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The Japanese owner of the giant cargo ship that has been blocking Egypt's Suez Canal since Tuesday has apologized for the disruption to global trade, as the blockage reportedly is holding up $9.6 billion of goods a day.

"In cooperation with local authorities and Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, a vessel management company, we are trying to refloat [the Ever Given], but we are facing extreme difficulty," the owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, said in a statement on Thursday.

"We sincerely apologize for causing a great deal of worry to ships in the Suez Canal and those planning to go through the canal," it added.

Shipping expert Lloyd's List valued the canal's westbound traffic at roughly $5.1 billion a day and eastbound daily traffic at around $4.5 billion.

Marine and salvage engineers failed in their latest attempt on Thursday.

The 400-meter-long, 200,000-tonne vessel is almost the same size as Empire Building, is now blocking transit in both directions through one of the world's busiest shipping channels linking Asia and Europe, which accounts for about 12 percent of global trade.

A total of 206 large container ships, tankers carrying oil and gas, and bulk vessels hauling grain have backed up at either end of the canal, according to tracking data, creating one of the worst shipping jams seen for years.

The blockage comes on top of the disruption to world trade already caused in the past year by COVID-19, with trade volumes hit by high rates of ship cancellations, shortages of containers and slower handling speeds at ports.

The world's number one line A.P. Moller Maersk said it was considering diverting vessels around Africa's Cape of Good Hope, adding five to six days to the journey between Asia and Europe. It said time-sensitive cargo could be sent on trains and airplanes, although no decisions had yet been made.


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