Stranded container ship ‘reflux’ after blocking the Suez Canal for 6 days

The stranded container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week was reportedly ‘refluxed’ on Monday and secured, said Inchcape Shipping Services, raising hopes that the bustling waterway will soon reopen.

The 400-meter-long Ever Given was successfully given at 4:30 local time and secured, according to a Tweet by Inchcape, a global provider of marine services.

The ship’s engines had started and preparations are underway to move Ever Given to the Great Lakes area, a channel source said.

MV Ever given, longer than four football pitches, was cleaved diagonally across the canal since last Tuesday, high above nearby palm trees and strangling world chains.

The crisis forced companies to choose between waiting or diverting ships around Africa, which adds a huge fuel bill, 9,000 kilometers (5,500 miles) and over a week’s journey to the journey between Asia and Europe.

A channel official, who requested anonymity, told AFP that the team on the ground had begun technical checks and was sure that the ship’s engine was working.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) had not published any official confirmation and it is not yet clear when traffic along the canal will resume.

Hundreds of ships are waiting for transit

The Ever Given got stuck diagonally across a southern part of the canal in strong winds almost a week ago, stopping shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

At least 369 vessels were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container vessels, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA President Osama Rabie told Egypt’s Extra News on Sunday.

About 15 percent of the world’s shipping traffic crosses the Suez Canal, which is an important source of foreign exchange revenue for Egypt. The current shutdown has cost the channel between $ 14 million and $ 15 million a day.

Shipping prices for oil-producing vessels almost doubled after the vessel ran aground and the blockade disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with Covid-19 restrictions.

Some ship managers decided last week to redirect their cargo around the Cape of Good Hope and add about two weeks to travel and extra fuel costs.

A note from AP Moeller Maersk that Reuters saw that it had so far redirected 15 ships around the Cape after calculating that the trip would correspond to the current delay in sailing to Suez and queuing.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has said it can speed up convoys through the canal once Ever given has been released for traffic.

( Jowharwith AFP, AP and REUTERS)