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Suez Canal in Egypt has been blocked by a massive cargo ship that has turned sideways.



Suez Canal in Egypt has been blocked by a massive cargo ship that has turned sideways.
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Suez Canal in Egypt has been blocked by a massive cargo ship that has turned sideways.

Suez Canal in Egypt has been blocked by a massive cargo ship that has turned sideways.


Officials said Wednesday that a freight container ship that is among the world’s largest has turned sideways and blocked all traffic in Egypt’s Suez Canal, threatening to disrupt a global transportation system still weakened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged container ship that transports goods between Asia and Europe, became stranded in the narrow, man-made waterway that separates continental Africa and the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday.

What caused the Ever Given to turn sideways in the canal was not immediately clear. The Ever Given was experiencing “a blackout while transiting in a northerly direction,” according to GAC, a global shipping and logistics firm.

The Ever Given, which is operated by Evergreen Marine Corp. of Taiwan, was overwhelmed by strong winds as it reached the Suez Canal from the Red Sea, but none of its containers sank, according to a statement issued to The Associated Press.

A second Egyptian official, who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to brief journalists, blamed the incident on a strong wind in the region. Strong winds and a sandstorm battered the region Tuesday, according to Egyptian forecasters, with gusts of up to 50 kph (31 mph).

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given, said, “All crew are secure and accounted for.” “No accidents or emissions have been reported.” The ship’s management firm denied that the ship ever ran out of fuel.

According to satellite data from, the Ever Given’s bow was touching the canal’s eastern wall, while its stern appeared to be stuck against the canal’s western wall. According to the details, several tug boats surrounded the ship, most likely attempting to drive it in the right direction.

As seen in satellite data, an image posted to Instagram by a user on another waiting cargo ship appeared to show the Ever Given wedged across the canal. In an apparent attempt to free the sand bank under its bow, a backhoe seemed to be digging into it.

According to the Egyptian official, tugboats are attempting to refloat the ship, which will take at least two days. The ship ran aground about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the canal’s southern mouth near Suez, in a single-lane portion of the canal.

According to Salvatore R. Mercogliano, a former merchant mariner and associate professor of history at Campbell University in North Carolina, this could have a significant impact on global shipping traveling between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

“On average, 50 vessels pass through the canal every day, so the canal’s closure means no vessels are transiting north and south,” Mercogliano told the Associated Press. “The canal is closed every day… cargo ships and tankers are unable to supply food, fuel, and manufactured products to Europe, and goods are unable to be exported from Europe to the Far East.”

Prior to being stuck in the canal, the Ever Given had mentioned Rotterdam, Netherlands, as its destination. The ship, which measures approximately 400 meters (a quarter mile) in length and 59 meters (193 feet) in width, is one of the world’s largest cargo ships. It has the capacity to transport 20,000 containers at a time.

The Suez Canal, which opened in 1869, is a vital connection for oil, natural gas, and cargo shipping from East to West. About 10% of global trade passes through the canal, and it is still one of Egypt’s biggest foreign currency earners. President Abdel-Fattah el-government Sissi’s completed a significant expansion of the canal in 2015, enabling it to handle the world’s largest vessels. The Ever Provided, on the other hand, ran aground before reaching the new section of the canal.

The incident that occurred on Tuesday is the latest to impact mariners as a result of the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have been stranded on ships as a result of the pandemic. Meanwhile, shipping demands have increased, putting more pressure on exhausted sailors, according to Mercogliano.

“It’s because global trade is moving at a breakneck speed right now, and shipping is on a very tight schedule,” he said. “Add to that the fact that mariners have been unable to board or disembark from vessels due to COVID restrictions.”

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