Suez Canal traffic resumes after stranded container ship freed

Reports on Monday said the container ship Ever Given which has been blocking the Suez Canal for a week was back afloat

Engineers on Monday "partially refloated" the colossal container ship that continues to block traffic through the Suez Canal, a canal services firm said, without providing further details about when the vessel would be fully set free.

The SCA did not confirm the news, saying in a statement earlier in the day that "operations have been stepped up around the bow of the ship".

Evergreen Line, which is leasing the Ever Given, said the ship would be inspected for seaworthiness in the Great Bitter Lake, which separates two sections of the canal.

While the Ever Given was stuck, many ships have been stuck waiting for it to clear, while some other ships had to take a different, much longer, route around Africa.

The MV Ever Given was refloated and the Suez Canal reopened on Monday, sparking relief nearly a week after the huge containership got stuck during a sandstorm and blocked a major artery for global trade.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the technical managers of the container ship, said there were no reports of pollution or cargo damage. Over 300 container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and LNG vessels are stuck in the canal.

Osama Rabei, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, said workers continued "pulling manoeuvres" to refloat the vessel.

Canal authorities have desperately tried to free the vessel by relying on tugs and dredgers alone, even as analysts warned that the 400-meter-long ship, weighing 220,000 tons, may be too heavy for such an operation. "We will not waste one second", Rabie told Egyptian state TV.

'We apologise': Bold plan to move ship stuck in Suez Canal
A Dutch rescue team had confirmed two additional tugs would arrive on March 28 to help dislodge the ship, BSM said. There is no problem with its rudders and propellers.

It is estimated that it could take more than 10 days to clear the number of waiting ships.

"The Suez Canal Authority themselves will have a claim against the ship for all the loss of traffic or reduction in traffic that may result from this incident".

"The long-term trade impact of these disruptions is likely to be small given that the global trade in goods amounts to $18 trillion a year", said Sohaib Shahid, senior economist at TD Economics.

The ship will return to sea as soon as it can, Shoei Kisen said.

The Japanese-owned ship had been partially dislodged early Monday, drawing immediate praise from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The price of global benchmark Brent crude dropped some two per cent to just over $63 U.S. on the news. The current stoppage has been costing the canal between $14 to $15 million a day. The Suez Canal salvage teams intensified excavation and dredging on Sunday and were hoping a high tide would help them dislodge it.

Shipping rates for oil product tankers almost doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with Covid-19 restrictions.

Maersk was among shippers rerouting cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope, adding up to two weeks to journeys and extra fuel costs.

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