Attempts to extricate one of the world’s largest container vessels that has blocked traffic along the Suez Canal have resumed at high tide, with a total of five tug boats striving to pull the ship into deeper water.
Marine Services firm GAC sent a note to clients overnight on Wednesday, stating that efforts to free the vessel using tugs was ongoing, but the wind conditions in addition to the huge size of the ship “were hindering the operation.”
The Ever Given, a 59-meter-wide (193.5-feet) vessel, ran aground after 40-knot winds combined with a sandstorm caused low visibility and poor navigation, the Suez Canal Authority have said.
The massive 224,000-ton ship was en route to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands when it was bounced off course.
The ship, at 400 meters, is almost as long as the Empire State Building in the United States is tall.
The vessel’s operating company said in a statement that it is wedged across the vital trade passage at the canal’s 151-kilometer (94-mile) mark.
Tanker Trackers, which observes vessels through satellite and maritime data have reported that the incident had caused tailbacks of other vessels nearby.
“Tankers carrying Saudi, Russian, US and Omani oil are waiting on both ends,” it said.
A further fifteen vessels in a northbound convoy behind the ship have been held at anchorages while the canal is cleared, plus a southbound convoy is also blocked, GAC posted on its website.
Japanese ship -leasing firm Shoei Kisen Kaisha, which owns the giant container have apologized for the issues the beached vessel are causing.
“We sincerely apologize for causing a great deal of worry to ships in the Suez Canal and those planning to go through the canal,” stated Shoei Kisen Kaisha on Thursday (March 25) on it’s website.
“In co-operation with local authorities and Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, a vessel management company, we are trying to refloat (the ship) but we are facing extreme difficulty.”
Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority has said that it is “temporarily suspending navigation” until the Ever-Given container is freed.
Approximately 30 percent of the world’s shipping container volume transits through the 193km Suez Canal every day and accounts for roughly 12 per cent of total globe trade of all goods.
If the blockage is not looking to be cleared within the next two days, shipping experts say that some shipping firms could be forced to re-route vessels around the southern tip of Africa, adding roughly a week to the journey,