© Askme9 | Dreamstime
Suez Canal Aerial View © Askme9 Dreamstime
Suez Canal Aerial View © Askme9 Dreamstime
Suez Canal Aerial View © Askme9 Dreamstime
Suez Canal Aerial View © Askme9 Dreamstime
Suez Canal Aerial View © Askme9 Dreamstime

Suez Canal Unblocked After Tugboats and Dredging Free Cargo Ship

March 29, 2021
Traffic through the channel resumed after the Ever Given shipping vessel was freed Monday.

After becoming jammed sideways across the width of the Suez Canal March 23, blocking traffic and snarling global supply chains, the 430-yard Ever Given container ship was refloated and repositioned to allow other boats to pass Monday, March 29. Admiral Osama Rabie, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, announced that navigation of the canal would resume immediately with the midday high tide.

The almost week-long blockage of one of the world’s most vital shipping channels has led to the buildup of at least 369 vessels on either side of the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea, and therefore Europe and North Africa, to the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and China. Countless industries, especially in Europe, have been adversely affected.

Some shipping companies, including Maersk and MSC, even elected to reroute vessels around the southern tip of Africa to avoid the blockage, adding weeks to travel time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs.

In a statement to Egypt state television, Admiral Rabie said travel through the canal would be accelerated in order to free the logjam as quickly as possible. A source from the canal cited by Reuters said that more than 100 ships would be able to enter the channel each day, but Maersk predicted that effects of the disruption could take weeks or months to fully resolve.

According to the Associated Press, the blockage has held up $9 billion a day in trade goods, and CNBC estimates the current economic toll at $59 billion.

The Ever Given container vessel, leased by Evergreen Marine Corp. of Taiwan, was blown by high winds from a sandstorm, which caused it to become jammed across the 205-meter (224.2 yards) width of the channel diagonally. It was dislodged early Monday morning by tugboats after dredging and excavation work.

“We pulled it off!” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Danish salvage firm Boskalis, which oversaw the operation to free the 224,000-ton ship. The Ever Given is now set to continue sailing north to the Great Bitter Lake, where it can be inspected for seaworthiness. 

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

Lufthansa Technik Soars to New Heights in Manufacturing and Service by Implementing a Digital Thread

Feb. 23, 2024
Learn how Lufthansa Technik is leveraging digitalization to find efficiencies to keep costs down, while keeping customer satisfaction high & increasing quality.

From Data to Action: Enabling the Connected Enterprise with a Digital Thread

Feb. 8, 2024
Manufacturers are transforming the enterprise with cloud technologies and IoT

How Technology is Reshaping Manufacturing: Trends in 2024 and Beyond

Feb. 26, 2024
Explore how technology reshapes manufacturing in our webinar. Uncover solutions to operational inefficiencies, talent shortages, and sustainability challenges. Transform obstacles...

SEC Cybersecurity Rules: What’s Your Regulatory Risk?

Feb. 27, 2024
Join us for an insightful exploration of the evolving cyber threat landscape, SEC rule implications, and collaborative strategies to secure critical IT and OT networks in the ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!