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Ship Blocks Suez Canal
News Bytes 03/25/2021 28 Comments

On Tuesday, one of the world’s largest cargo ships wedged itself sideways across Egypt’s busy Suez Canal. No other vessels can squeeze by. The awkward situation is disrupting an already strained global shipping system.

Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas, and cargo being shipping from East to West. The man-made canal divides continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. Around 10% of the world’s trade flows through the waterway, and it remains one of Egypt’s top foreign currency earners.

In 2015, the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi completed a major expansion of the canal. The enlargement allowed it to accommodate the world’s largest vessels. (See “Suez Canal Extension.”)

The MV (motor vessel) Ever Given is a Panama-flagged container ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe. The vessel became grounded Tuesday in the single-lane part of the waterway before the new wider portion of the canal.

The Ever Given was headed to Rotterdam in the Netherlands before getting stuck in the canal. At nearly a quarter mile long and 193 feet wide, the boat is among the largest cargo ships in the world. It can carry about 20,000 shipping containers at once.

The Ever Given’s bow is touching the Suez Canal’s eastern wall. Its stern appears lodged against the western wall according to satellite data. Data also show several tug boats surrounding the ship, likely attempting to push it the right way.

An image posted to Instagram by someone on another waiting cargo ship depicts the Ever Given wedged across the canal as shown in the satellite data. A backhoe appears to be digging into the sand bank under its bow in an effort to free it.

One anonymous Egyptian official says tugboats hope to refloat the ship—and that the operation would take at least two days.

Accounts differ about what caused the Ever Given to turn sideways in the canal. GAC, a global shipping company, describe the ship as suffering “a blackout while transiting in a northerly direction.”

Evergreen Marine Corporation operates the vessel. Officials say strong winds overcame the Ever Given as it entered the Suez Canal from the Red Sea.

Egyptian forecasters say high winds and a sandstorm plagued the area Tuesday, with winds gusting to 31 mph.

“All crew are safe and accounted for,” says Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given. “There have been no reports of injuries or pollution.” The management company denies the ship ever lost power.

The situation could affect global shipping moving between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, warns Salvatore R. Mercogliano. He is a former merchant mariner and associate professor of history at North Carolina’s Campbell University.

“Every day, 50 vessels on average go through that canal, so the closing of the canal means no vessels are transiting north and south,” Mercogliano says. “Every day the canal is closed . . . container ships and tankers are not delivering food, fuel, and manufactured goods to Europe, and goods are not being exported from Europe to the Far East.”

Tuesday’s incident marks the latest affecting mariners amid the global pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have been stuck aboard vessels due to the virus. Meanwhile, shipping demands have increased, adding to the burden on tired sailors, Mercogliano says. “[The pressure is] because of the breakneck pace of global shipping right now, and shipping is on a very tight schedule.”

UPDATE: 

Helped by the peak of high tide, a fleet of tugboats has managed to wrench the bow of the Ever Given from the Suez Canal’s sandy bank. The Monday, March 29, rescue unclogged one of the world’s most vital maritime arteries after nearly a week.

(The cargo ship Ever Given sits with its bow stuck into the wall of the Suez Canal on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Suez Canal Authority via AP)

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Most recent comments

first

wow that's crazy

Second comment

Wow that's a huge ship! Hopefully it doesn't stay there to much longer.

3rd comment

Yeah that ship is huge. I hope they can get it out quickly! 31 mph wing is a lot, but where I live March is our windy state and we get winds up to 60 or 70 mph! Not fun!

Yikes! I really hope the

Yikes! I really hope the goods they're carrying aren't to important to the people they're carrying them to or supposed to be carrying them to anyway. Did you see they mentioned this on today's World Watch Top Story? @ Riley Does that mean lots of tornados around you?

maybe it'll cause another

maybe it'll cause another toilet paper shortage lol lol lol lol XP XP XP

@MICAH D

there are tornados in my area ;-|

The highest

The highest wind speed in my county was once 110mph.

@ Everyone

Ooooooooof

@ Everyone

HOW DO YOU POST A LINK?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Belwyn R

Go to the page you want, then put your arrow curser thingy into the search bar, then click and drag till all the stuff in the search bar is blue. Then hit the RIGHT side of your mouse, then hit the word "COPY" when it appears (there is also a "LINK" word as well, but I find "COPY" easier). Go to the article where you want to post, then hit the RIGHT side of your mouse again, and hit the word "PASTE". Your link should appear!

@ Carys M.

The problem is, I don't have a mouse! :) But thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@ Carys M.

Wait what's the search bar?

Funny, me and my dad just

Funny, me and my dad just read about the digging of the Suez Canal on Monday for school!

@ Belwyn

You can do the same thing, just drag your finger over the link in the search bar (at the top of the screen) and "copy" should appear, press that. Then go to the article you want to share it one and hold down in the comment box "paste" should appear. Press that and it should work ;)

15 Comment

This is funny! But I hope it gets resloved!
Carys and Belwyn: Thanks for asking and answering!

That is one big ship! So

That is one big ship! So weird that it got stuck

@ N&M. A

Sorry, what's the search bar? If you explain, I might be able to do it!

@Belwyn

It’s the spot at the top of the page where you can type in the website is so if you’re on world teen is says teen . wng . org,

https://teen.wng.org/node

@ Everyone

I POSTED A LINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@Curtis P

Bro, they aren't going to hit me and my family but I heard there were 5 casualties! Stay safe! I hope there isn't too much damage in your area!

oh wow

C R A Z Y

@Micah

No, luckily we don't have tornados. But I have some family in Oklahoma City and they get a lot of tornados. We just get high winds and terrible blowing dirt. (It is super dry where I live!)
@Curtis: Oh man that must be a little frightening! Stay safe!

OOF

Wow this is bad! My dad said every day it is stuck it stops over 10 billion dollars worth of resoucres

@Justin M

Yeah that is what I heard too.
Hey this might sound weird but are you new to the comment section of WORLDteen? I don't recognize your name. If so, then Welcome!

@Curtis

We have tornadoes here too. In fact, there was a watch today. Hail, thunder, driving rain, dogs freaking out, just the usual for March-April. XP

PS

Not to mention intense humidity. XP You walk outside and it's like a sauna. Pollen makes it look like steam. (puke) You feel like you're going to drown by breathing because the air is like 50% water. You sweat and sweat because the air is so waterlogged that your sweat doesn't evaporate. The wind is hot and wet. Ugh. I'm already ready for fall. XP

I wonder...

When will they update this? The ship is unstuck.

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