An outsize container ship named ‘Ever Given’ has run aground in the Suez Canal after being blown off course by a “gust of wind”, resulting in a huge traffic jam of vessels at either end of the crucial international trade route. The cargo ship, which is three-years-old and is registered in Panama, was on its way to Rotterdam in the Netherlands from China when it got stuck in the Suez Canal.
Weighing 220,000 tonnes and running 400 metres long, the “mega-ship” became stuck near the southern end of the narrow canal on Tuesday morning.
A large number of tugs surrounded the vessel, operated by Taiwanese transport company Evergreen Marine, in an attempt to move it. However, attempts to clear the waterway did not succeed. Nevertheless, the efforts to remove the container from the narrow lane are still on, with experts claiming that it could take about 2 days for the canal to be cleared.
Photos snapped from another container in the canal, the Maersk Denver, show the Ever Given stuck at an angle across the narrow waterway. The tugs sent by the Egyptian authorities pales in comparison to the size of the container.
Earlier, it was reported that the container ran out of power. But later, the Taiwanese company issued a statement that said the ship ran aground after a suspected gust of wind hit it.
The company said the shipowner told them Ever Given “was suspected of being hit by a sudden strong wind, causing the hull to deviate from waterway and accidentally hit the bottom and run aground”.
The company further added that it is in touch with the canal management authority to help in clearing the major international artery as soon as possible.
“The company has urged the shipowner to report the cause of the incident and has been in discussions with relevant parties including the canal management authority to assist the ship as soon as possible,” the statement said.
Suez Canal—A vital trade link that connects Asia and Europe
Suez Canal is a crucial lane that links the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and is the fastest maritime link between Asia and Europe. The watercourse, which is around 193 km long, was built by the Suez Canal Company in the mid-1860s and was officially opened in 1869.
It is estimated that about 12 per cent of the world trade volume happens through it, making it one of the world’s busiest trade route. According to the Suez Canal Authority, about 19,000 carriers, or an average of 51.5 ships per day, with a net tonnage of 1.17 billion tonnes passed through the waterway in 2020.