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29 Mar, 2021 13:30

Stranded Ever Given container ship refloated, Suez Canal traffic resumes – authority chairman

Stranded Ever Given container ship refloated, Suez Canal traffic resumes – authority chairman

The giant container ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal for almost a week, throwing global trade into chaos, has been refloated, the chairman of the authority in charge of the waterway has said.

The 400-meter-long Ever Given has been successfully refloated, Admiral Osama Rabie, chairman and managing director of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said in a statement.

A picture taken from another vessel in the canal on Monday afternoon appeared to show the Ever Given positioned towards the middle of the waterway.

Rabie said that “successful push and tow maneuvers” on Monday had almost put the vessel fully back on course, with the stern now 102 meters away from the canal’s bank, instead of the previous four meters away.

More maneuvers are set to take place later in the day once the tide rises, in order to position the ship back in the center of the canal, the SCA chief added.

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Further dredging and excavation of the canal took place at the weekend, before SCA workers and Dutch firm Smit Salvage tried to free the ship with tugboats on Monday morning. 

The Panama-flagged vessel became lodged sideways in the canal – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes – on March 23, following reports it had veered off course amid strong wind.

The Ever Given is now heading to Great Bitter Lake, according to a spokesperson for Leth Agencies, a Suez transit service, where it will reportedly undergo a technical inspection. 

The ship was en route from the port of Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia to Rotterdam in the Netherlands when it became wedged in the canal. 

There are currently more than 370 vessels waiting to enter the canal, including container ships, oil tankers, and other boats. The logjam may not be cleared for several days.

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