World’s key trade route of Suez Canal remains lock-jawed by a massive container ship for third day and pressure on authorities is building up to free the canal from wedged vessel.
A brief pause in overnight operations was resumed on Thursday to refloat the massive 220,000 ton and 400 metre long Ever Given. The fears loom that the operation could practically extend to weeks if vessels needs to be unloaded.
“It is not really possible to pull it loose”, said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Beskalis, the dredging company that is on site for the operation. He added that unloading might be needed which could take weeks together. “We can’t exclude it might take weeks, depending on the situation.”
Ship’s bow and stern have been lifted up against canal’s either side. Ship’s waterline indicates that the vessel is sitting ‘heavily on the bank’. He added, “It’s like an enormous beached whale. It’s an enormous weight on the sand. We might have to work with a combination of reducing the weight by removing containers, oil and water from the ship, tug boats and dredging of sand.”
Meanwhile, the blocking of Suez Canal has led to traffic jam on either side of the Asia-Europe trade channel with 150 ships laden with oil, consumer goods and automotive parts. The channel is passage for a third of world’s container traffic. Experts also warn that a massive flood of insurance claims of the huge amount of cargo which has been held up.
Ever Given is a Panama flagged ship and operated by Taiwan was drifted aground on Tuesday morning by as massive gust of wind when it lost its ability to steer, said the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
Lieutenant General Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said, “The Suez Canal will not spare any efforts to ensure the restoration of navigation and to serve the movement of global trade.”
Apart from the loss in trade and massive economic implications, experts warn that idling ships across the channel in Red Sea can invite attacks amid rising tensions between Iran and US and its implications across the Middle East.