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Ever Given and the Suez Canal

Suez Canal unblocked, Ever Given on the move

Photo: SCA Ever_Given_SCA.jpg
Ever Given, the containership which ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal, is now afloat and back on the move.

The ship was refloated earlier on March 29 and moved away from the canal bank, with salvors waiting for favourable high tides to move the ship away from its location. Ever Given ran aground on the morning of March 23, blocking the Suez Canal entirely and preventing the passage of vessels along one of the world's critical trade routes for six days.

Live images from the Suez Canal show the ship back on the move, with what appears to be a slight list to port, flanked by tugboats and other smaller vessels.

The ship's technical manger Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) confirmed in a statement that the vessel was safely re-floated "at approximately 1500 local time."

"BSM extends its deepest gratitude to all parties involved in the emergency response, including the Suez Canal Authority, SMIT Salvage and the crew on board, who worked tirelessly to free the vessel and to restore navigability in the Suez Canal, Ever Given  will now to head to the Great Bitter Lake where she will undergo a full inspection," it said.

Attention will now turn to clearing the backlog of hundreds of vessels waiting to transit the canal.

In a customer advisory Maersk Line said that the Suez Canal had a capacity for 50 – 85 vessels to transit daily from both directions. It noted that once the canal was re-opened it was planned to run convoys continuously.

“They are assessing the current backlog of vessels as of the 27th of March, and we would expect that it would take 3-6 days for the complete queue to pass, conditional to safety and other operational circumstances. As more vessels either reach the blockage or is redirected, this is an estimate and is subject to change,” Maersk said.

Containers such as Maersk and 2M alliance partner MSC have already started to divert vessels to the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope as the number of vessels due to transit the canal continued to grow.