Engineers on Monday “partially refloated” the colossal container ship that remains wedged across the Suez Canal, a canal services firm said, without providing further details about when the vessel would be set free.
For nearly a week, the skyscraper-sized Ever Given hauling goods from Asia to Europe has blocked maritime traffic through the vital artery, holding up $9 billion each day in global trade and straining supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic. Over 300 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, are waiting to pass through the canal, while dozens more are taking the alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip, adding some two weeks to journeys and threatening delivery delays.
The partial freeing of the vessel came after intensive efforts to push and pull the vessel with 10 tugboats when the full moon brought spring tide, raising the canal’s water level and hopes for a breakthrough. However, it was clear that challenges remained, as satellite data from MarineTraffic.com showed the ship in the same position, surrounded by a squadron of tugs with its bulbous bow stuck in the canal’s eastern bank. A top pilot with the canal authority, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the ship had been partially refloated and said that workers were still struggling to dislodge the bow.Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, said workers continued “pulling maneuvers” to refloat the vessel early Monday. SOVEREIGNPH