Suez canal blockage: Ship may be freed early next week, says salvage firm

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Mar 27, 2021, 06:06 PM(IST)

A file photo of blockage at Suez Canal Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Billions of dollars of cargo are now stalled at either end of the vital shipping lane between Asia and Europe, with their owners mulling whether to wait it out or take the longer and more expensive route around the Cape of Good Hope at the cost of up to 12 additional days at sea

Positive news came from Suez canal on Saturday as the Dutch salvage firm said that the stuck ship will be freed from the canal bed early next week. Billions of dollars are at stake as shipping through Suez canal, a vital sea-route between East and West has stopped due the ship. Shipping companies have been forced to re-route traffic around the southern tip of Africa.

The president of Shoei Kisen -- the Japanese firm which owns the giant container vessel sounded more optimistic as he said that the vessel will be freed on Saturday itself.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Suez Canal Authority chief has said that strong wind was not the main reason for grounding of the ship

"Strong winds and weather factors were not the main reasons for the ship's grounding, there may have been technical or human errors," Osama Rabie said at a press conference in Suez.

Billions of dollars of cargo are now stalled at either end of the vital shipping lane between Asia and Europe, with their owners mulling whether to wait it out or take the longer and more expensive route around the Cape of Good Hope at the cost of up to 12 additional days at sea.

The MV Ever Given, which is longer than four football fields, has been wedged diagonally across the span of the canal since Tuesday, blocking the waterway in both directions.

At a press conference in Japan Friday, Shoei Kisen president Yukito Higaki told local media there were no signs of damage to its engines and various instruments.

"The ship is not taking water. There is no problem with its rudders and propellers. Once it refloats, it should be able to operate," Higaki said, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

The company aims to free the ship "tomorrow night Japan time", he added, the Nikkei news agency said.

"We are continuing work to remove sediment as of now, with additional dredging tools."

In the Netherlands, the executive director of Royal Boskalis, parent company of Smit Salvage, set a less demanding target.

"With the ships we'll have in place by then, the earth we've managed to dredge, and the high tide, let's hope that'll be enough to budge the ship at the start of next week," Peter Berdowski told a public television chat-show late Friday.

"We are already in the process of installing a crane on land. That will allow us to eventually remove all the containers from the foredeck, which could involve hundreds of containers." 

The blockage has caused a huge traffic jam of more than 200 ships at both ends of the 193-kilometre (120-mile) long canal and major delays in the delivery of oil and other products.

(With AFP inputs)

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