Efforts to move megaship blocking Suez Canal continue

Saturday, 27 Mar, 2021

The first container ship to opt for the longer journey around the Cape of Good Hope was the Ever Given's sistership, the Ever Greet, both of which are operated by the Taiwanese firm Evergreen Marine, it added.

U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration was looking at what it could do to help, after the 400-meter-long Ever Given ran aground in the vital trade waterway on Tuesday due to strong wind.

But the canal has seen this kind of trouble before in its long history, sometimes shutting down for hours, days, weeks or - in one case - eight years. But the Suez Crisis, as it became known, lasted little more than a week - quelled in November by a United Nations peacekeeping force that Lester Pearson, the future Canadian prime minister, helped muster and for which he later won the Nobel Peace Prize. The image of the very big ship and a lone bulldozer trying to free it have sparked the most self-serving of all public conversations -memes with captions like "me looking at work on a Monday".

A group of cargo ships are seen anchored in place in the Suez Canal in late 1973.

Political commentator Ben Shapiro also joined in the fun, using the Suez Canal incident take a swipe at the current administration.

But the vessel with gross tonnage of 219,000 and deadweight of 199,000 has yet to budge, forcing the global shipping giant Maersk and Germany's Hapag-Lloyd to look into rerouting around the southern tip of Africa.

"It's going to affect shipping schedules around the world", he added.

The canal authority chief said over 300 vessels are now treading water at either end of the canal, which links the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

To note, this route is used for $200 billion-worth exports and imports between India and North America, South America, and Europe.

- The grounded vessel has been partially refloated and is now alongside the Canal bank, said shipping agent GAC on its website at noon, citing information from the SCA.

Advisory re-routing Shipping Ministry to issue advisory to certain ports
Advisory re-routing Shipping Ministry to issue advisory to certain ports

In the event that these ships decide to sail through the Cape of Good Hope as an alternate path, their route will increase by 9,650 kilometers which will cause the cost of transporting goods to increase by at least $300,000.

The shipping index benchmark for LR2 vessels from the Middle East to Japan, known as TC1, has climbed by a third since last week to 137.5 worldscale points, said Anoop Jayaraj, clean tanker broker at Fearnleys Singapore.

One of the US Central Command's main missions in the region is to protect commercial ship traffic.

"I am aware of the implications of the temporary closure of the canal, and I ask for patience from stakeholders across the supply chain as everyone works to ensure that the ship, its crew, its cargo and the environment remain protected", Kitack Lim, the secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, said in a statement Friday.

Suez Canal Drama: So, What Now?

In contrast to the Suez, the Panama Canal locks at each end, creating a smoother transition for ships.

Karaismailoğlu said that Turkey possesses a ship capable of carrying out large operations, including resurfacing.

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The awkward situation in which the "Ever Given" found itself gave birth to a myriad of memes, including some that relate to people's everyday lives.

The suspension of traffic has deepened problems for shipping lines that were already facing disruption and delays. More than 60% of Asian exports to the west flowed via the choked Canal in 2020, according to FGE.