Suez Canal mega-ship is on the move! Ever Given is being pulled along after it was successfully refloated, with traffic along the channel set to resume immediately

 The Suez Canal saga was nearing its end today after the container ship obstructing the channel was set free and started heading north up the waterway, nearly a week after causing a blockage that strangled global trade. 

The bow of the 220,000-ton Ever Given was finally dislodged from the canal bank on Monday after tugboats had straightened the vessel in an early-morning operation and dredgers had vacuumed away huge chunks of sand. 

Tracking websites showed the Panama-flagged vessel being pulled up the waterway on Monday afternoon, opening the door for billions of dollars' worth of goods to resume their progress through the channel. 

A salvage team was pulling the vessel toward the Great Bitter Lake, a wide stretch of water halfway between the north and south end of the canal, where the ship will undergo technical inspection, Egyptian authorities said. 

Egypt's president Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi had earlier declared that 'Egyptians have succeeded in ending the crisis' despite the operation's 'massive technical complexity.' 

But it was unclear how long it would take to deal with the backlog, with the world's largest container firm, Denmark's Maersk, warning that 'it could take six days or more for the complete queue to pass'. 

Satellite photos showed an armada of cargo ships still stuck in a traffic jam nearly a week after the Ever Given got jammed in the Egyptian shore - with £6.5billion of global trade being held up each day.  

Footage on Egyptian TV showed the Ever Given on the move today, bringing an end to the week-long saga in the Suez Canal

Footage on Egyptian TV showed the Ever Given on the move today, bringing an end to the week-long saga in the Suez Canal 

Progress: The Ever Given cargo ship was no longer wedged across the entire width of the Suez Canal today after tugboats managed to dislodge the stern in an early-morning operation

Progress: The Ever Given cargo ship was no longer wedged across the entire width of the Suez Canal today after tugboats managed to dislodge the stern in an early-morning operation 

Challenge: Some way south of the Ever Given, a fleet of cargo ships was still waiting to get through the canal despite the progress made by salvage crews early on Monday morning

Challenge: Some way south of the Ever Given, a fleet of cargo ships was still waiting to get through the canal despite the progress made by salvage crews early on Monday morning 


Partially afloat: The Ever Given was no longer spreadeagled across the Suez Canal today and its stern had been moved substantially away from the shore, but it remained partly lodged in the canal bank

Partially afloat: The Ever Given was no longer spreadeagled across the Suez Canal today and its stern had been moved substantially away from the shore, but it remained partly lodged in the canal bank 

Breakthrough: This picture taken from a tugboat on Monday morning showed the Ever Given substantially straightened, although it remained unclear how long it would take to fully re-open the Suez Canal

Breakthrough: This picture taken from a tugboat on Monday morning showed the Ever Given substantially straightened, although it remained unclear how long it would take to fully re-open the Suez Canal 

Partially refloated: The ship was no longer stranded across the width of the Egyptian canal, but a rescue team said the bow was still stuck in the sandy clay at the edge of the channel

Partially refloated: The ship was no longer stranded across the width of the Egyptian canal, but a rescue team said the bow was still stuck in the sandy clay at the edge of the channel 

The captain of a rescue crew gives a thumbs-up
The ship was rotated early on Monday

A view from the canal early today as the captain of a rescue crew gives a thumbs-up (left) after the ship was rotated (right) 

Satellite data early this morning showed the straightened Ever Given surrounded by a squadron of tugboats with its stern no longer appearing to be blocking the entire shipping route

Satellite data early this morning showed the straightened Ever Given surrounded by a squadron of tugboats with its stern no longer appearing to be blocking the entire shipping route

Nighttime operations taking advantage of the supermoon king tide successfully re-floated the Ever Given early on Monday. The 1,300-foot ship had completely blocked shipping traffic on the vital Suez Canal for a week

Nighttime operations taking advantage of the supermoon king tide successfully re-floated the Ever Given early on Monday. The 1,300-foot ship had completely blocked shipping traffic on the vital Suez Canal for a week

The cargo ship, seen on Sunday before it was freed, had completely blocked traffic on the Suez Canal for a week

The cargo ship, seen on Sunday before it was freed, had completely blocked traffic on the Suez Canal for a week


The salvage team had made a major breakthrough on Monday morning by dislodging the ship's stern and straightening its position, but traffic remained stuck while the bow was still wedged in the canal bank. 

But later on Monday, tugboats took advantage of a high tide brought on by a 'supermoon' to wrench the bow out of the sandy bank where it had been lodged since last Tuesday, allowing the ship to float again. 

The fully laden vessel was hauled over the canal bank and the head of Egypt's Suez Canal Authority announced shortly afterwards that shipping traffic had resumed in the waterway. 

'She's free,' an official involved in the salvage operation said. 

Egyptian authorities have said they can accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given is out of the way, with canal chief Admiral Osama Rabie vowing that 'we will not waste one second'.

He said it could take from two-and-a-half to three days to clear the backlog, while another Egyptian source said more than 100 ships would be able to enter the channel daily. 

But other estimates say it could take up to 10 days to clear the traffic jam, and Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or even months to unravel.

More than 300 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, are still waiting to pass through the canal while dozens more are taking the alternative route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa's southern tip - adding some two weeks and thousands of miles to journeys and threatening delivery delays.  

Shipping giant MSC told customers that it 'expects this incident to have a very significant impact on the movement of containerised goods'. 

The obstruction could affect oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Middle East. Already, Syria has begun rationing the distribution of fuel in the war-torn country amid concerns of delays of shipments arriving.  

Romania's animal health agency said 11 ships carrying livestock out of the country were also impacted, while the charity Animals International warned of a potential 'tragedy' affecting some 130,000 animals. 

Global container shipping was already in crisis because of disruptions caused by the pandemic, sending shipping costs rocketing because of limited space aboard the vessels. 

Egypt is losing some $12-14 million in revenue from the canal for each day it is closed, according to the canal authority. 

Egypt's president al-Sisi had ordered preparations for some of the ship's 18,300 containers to be removed if dislodging efforts had failed. 

But as the high tides came in last night, diggers set to work removing parts of the canal's bank while specialist tugboats also joined efforts to float the giant container ship. 

Egypt's Leth Agencies said today's breakthrough came after intensive efforts to push and pull the vessel with tugboats while vacuuming up sand underneath the ship. 

The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magno, which were called in to work alongside tugboats already on scene, reached the Red Sea near the city of Suez on Sunday. 

Rescuers including a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage shifted at least 27,000 cubic metres of sand around the ship to reach a depth of 60ft, the canal authority said. 

A canal official said the team on the ground had started technical checks and were reassured that the ship's motor was working. 

The Ever Given was due to head to Rotterdam after transiting the canal on its way from Asia, but it was unclear whether it would continue to the Dutch port after being freed or stop at another port for repairs. 

Taking containers off the ship likely would have added even more days to the canal's closure, and required special equipment that wouldn't have arrived until later in the week. 

Old sections of the canal - opened in 1869 and widened since - have been reopened to ease the congestion, but there is only one lane on the southern end where the ship was stuck.

Economists say the Ever Given's disruption of shipping through the Suez Canal probably won't have an impact on global trade for more than a few weeks, and is unlikely to derail global growth this year as more people get Covid-19 vaccines and economies reopen.

But it's another wake-up call for companies that have set up their business to rely on supply chains with little room for error, said William Lee, chief economist at the Milken Institute.

'This is a warning about how vulnerable our supply chains are and how the just-in-time inventory techniques that have been so popular have to be rethought,' he said. 'The shortages and the supply chain shortages that cause assembly lines to shut down - that will have a greater impact.' 

Peter Dotselaere, an instructor at the Antwerp Maritime Academy, stands at the controls of a mock-up Ever Given in a simulation of how the accident that has brought global trade to a standstill might have happened

Peter Dotselaere, an instructor at the Antwerp Maritime Academy, stands at the controls of a mock-up Ever Given in a simulation of how the accident that has brought global trade to a standstill might have happened  

The Ever Given is seen in the dawn on Monday after a successful operation to re-float the stuck container vessel

The Ever Given is seen in the dawn on Monday after a successful operation to re-float the stuck container vessel


Some of the containers piled high on the Ever Given are seen from the canal bank today after the ship was partially refloated

Some of the containers piled high on the Ever Given are seen from the canal bank today after the ship was partially refloated 

The Ever Given is now in a more horizontal position when seen from this side of the canal, having previously been spreadeagled diagonally across the waterway

The Ever Given is now in a more horizontal position when seen from this side of the canal, having previously been spreadeagled diagonally across the waterway 

Rescue teams intensified excavation and dredging efforts around the Ever Given container ship after high tides were created by the full Worm Moon

Rescue teams intensified excavation and dredging efforts around the Ever Given container ship after high tides were created by the full Worm Moon 

The Japanese-owned ship disrupted global shipping valued at more than £6.5billion per day and exacerbated the global economic crisis triggered by Covid-19

The Japanese-owned ship disrupted global shipping valued at more than £6.5billion per day and exacerbated the global economic crisis triggered by Covid-19


This weekend it was revealed that ships containing livestock and IKEA furnishings had been left stranded in the  maritime traffic jam.

Gerit Weidinger, EU coordinator for NGO Animals International, told The Guardian: 'My greatest fear is that animals run out of food and water and they get stuck on the ships because they cannot be unloaded somewhere else for paperwork reasons.'

Meanwhile IKEA said it had 110 containers on the stricken Ever Given and on other ships.

'The blockage of the Suez Canal is an additional constraint to an already challenging and volatile situation for global supply chains brought on by the pandemic,' an IKEA spokesperson said.   

Ships already are having to detour around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to avoid the canal. That slows the arrival of containers at their destinations and when they can be emptied and then refilled with other goods bound somewhere else. That can drive up costs - price increases that eventually reach consumers.

'Shipping prices are going to go up,' said Gary Hufbauer, nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. 'That will tighten up supply lines and mean shortages at the consumer level, and it will also mean somewhat higher prices for oil.'

The incident is another ripple worsening shortages of shipping containers in Asia, which means retailers may be late getting TVs, furniture, clothes, auto parts and many other goods that are shipped via containers.

Many countries got a harsh lesson in those realities last year when commerce, was disrupted in myriad ways after new coronavirus outbreaks began in China, the world's factory floor.

Consumers everywhere soon found that ordering online was an adventure in the unknown, with many factories shut down and trade between Chinese provinces stalled. Obtaining supplies of medicines and vital personal protective equipment such as face masks and other medical supplies became challenging, and sometimes impossible.

About 12 per cent of global trade by volume goes through the Suez Canal, but it accounts for 30 per cent  of the world's daily shipping container freight. That makes it the most important conduit for trade between Europe and Asia.

Officials had feared they'd have to unload the ship, a prospect that now appears off the table after the operation

Officials had feared they'd have to unload the ship, a prospect that now appears off the table after the operation

Officials said they wanted to make use of the the high tides created by the supermoon to dislodge the 220,000-ton skyscraper-sized Ever Given

Officials said they wanted to make use of the the high tides created by the supermoon to dislodge the 220,000-ton skyscraper-sized Ever Given

An aerial view taken on March 27, 2021 from the porthole of a commercial plane shows stranded ships waiting in queue in the Gulf of Suez to cross the Suez Canal at its southern entrance near the Red Sea port city of Suez

An aerial view taken on March 27, 2021 from the porthole of a commercial plane shows stranded ships waiting in queue in the Gulf of Suez to cross the Suez Canal at its southern entrance near the Red Sea port city of Suez


The closure also affects oil and gas shipments. Nearly 10 per cent of oil shipments and eight per cent of global liquid natural gas moves through the Suez Canal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Much of the traffic involves transpiration of crude oil from the Middle East to Europe and the U.S. It's also become an important link for Russian oil to Asia.

The disruption from the canal blockage comes at tricky time for international trade and shipping, noted Fiona Boal, global head of commodities at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

'The cost of shipping goods from Asia to Europe hit a record high in recent months and global freight rates are already near three times the level of a year ago,' she said.

At the same time, oil prices may be kept in check by worries that demand for oil will weaken amid renewed pandemic lockdowns in Europe. Benchmark U.S. crude oil for May delivery fell $1.03 to $59.91 per barrel on Monday after rising $2.41 on Friday. Brent crude oil for May delivery lost $1 to $63.43 per barrel after gaining $2.62 on Friday.

North and Latin America are likely to be less affected than Europe by the blockage in the Suez Canal, because much of the shipping container traffic that runs between the Americas and Asia moves through the Pacific to hubs like the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, or crosses through the Panama Canal.

'The impact on the U.S. will be less than on Europe,' Hufbauer said.

On Saturday, the head of the Suez Canal Authority told journalists that strong winds were 'not the only cause' for the Ever Given running aground, appearing to push back against conflicting assessments offered by others.

Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei said that an investigation was ongoing but did not rule out human or technical error.


Rescue crews desperately trying to free the container ship blocking the Suez Canal today said they have made a breakthrough and had managed to move the skyscraper-sized vessel by nearly 100ft

Rescue crews desperately trying to free the container ship blocking the Suez Canal today said they have made a breakthrough and had managed to move the skyscraper-sized vessel by nearly 100ft

The massive Ever Given (pictured), a Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, got stuck on Tuesday in a single-lane stretch of the canal

The massive Ever Given (pictured), a Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, got stuck on Tuesday in a single-lane stretch of the canal 

A tugboat is seen on Sunday near the Ever Given container ship which ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt

A tugboat is seen on Sunday near the Ever Given container ship which ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt

The plan is for the tugboats to nudge the 400-meter-long Ever Given as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given, said

The plan is for the tugboats to nudge the 400-meter-long Ever Given as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given, said

A handout satellite image made available by MAXAR Technologies shows excavation around the bow of the Ever Given and dredging operations in progress, in the Suez Canal, Egypt, March 28, 2021

A handout satellite image made available by MAXAR Technologies shows excavation around the bow of the Ever Given and dredging operations in progress, in the Suez Canal, Egypt, March 28, 2021


Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement maintains that their 'initial investigations rule out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding.'

However, at least one initial report suggested a 'blackout' struck the hulking vessel, which is carrying some 20,000 containers, at the time of the incident. 

Asked about when they expected to free the vessel and reopen the canal, he said: 'I can't say because I do not know.' 

Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., the company that owns the vessel, earlier said it was considering removing containers if other refloating efforts failed.

On Friday, salvage boss Berdowski said that the company hoped to pull the container ship free within days using a combination of heavy tugboats, dredging and high tides.

Berdowski told the Dutch current affairs show Nieuwsuur that the front of the ship was stuck in sandy clay, but the rear 'has not been completely pushed into the clay and that is positive because you can use the rear end to pull it free'. 

Berdowski said two large tugboats were on their way to the canal and were expected to arrive over the weekend. 

'The combination of the (tug) boats we will have there, more ground dredged away and the high tide, we hope that will be enough to get the ship free somewhere early next week,' he said.     Rescue crews on Sunday managed to move the skyscraper-sized vessel by nearly 100ft after it found itself wedged across the crucial waterway in Egypt

Rescue crews on Sunday managed to move the skyscraper-sized vessel by nearly 100ft after it found itself wedged across the crucial waterway in Egypt

Workers planned to make two attempts to free the vessel on Sunday, coinciding with high tides, a top pilot with the canal authority told The Associated Press

 Workers planned to make two attempts to free the vessel on Sunday, coinciding with high tides, a top pilot with the canal authority told The Associated Press

On Saturday, the head of the Suez Canal Authority told journalists that strong winds were 'not the only cause' for the Ever Given running aground, appearing to push back against conflicting assessments offered by others. Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei (pictured) said that an investigation was ongoing but did not rule out human or technical error

On Saturday, the head of the Suez Canal Authority told journalists that strong winds were 'not the only cause' for the Ever Given running aground, appearing to push back against conflicting assessments offered by others. Lt. Gen. Osama Rabei (pictured) said that an investigation was ongoing but did not rule out human or technical error

Stranded ships are now waiting in a queue in the Gulf of Suez after the container ship blocked the waterway

Stranded ships are now waiting in a queue in the Gulf of Suez after the container ship blocked the waterway

The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magno were called in to assist the tugboats already in the canal and had reached the Red Sea near the city of Suez early on Sunday, according to satellite data from MarineTraffic.com. Pictured: Two boats are seen at the entrance of the Suez Canal on Sunday

The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magno were called in to assist the tugboats already in the canal and had reached the Red Sea near the city of Suez early on Sunday, according to satellite data from MarineTraffic.com. Pictured: Two boats are seen at the entrance of the Suez Canal on Sunday

Rescue crews  descended upon the scene in an effort to free the container ship blocking the Suez Canal today

Rescue crews  descended upon the scene in an effort to free the container ship blocking the Suez Canal today

Rescue teams arrive to the scene as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side

Rescue teams arrive to the scene as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side

Workers at the site have so far shifted 27,000 cubic metres of sand around the ship to reach a depth of 60ft

Workers at the site have so far shifted 27,000 cubic metres of sand around the ship to reach a depth of 60ft 

The Ever Given is wedged about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the canal's Red Sea entrance near the city of Suez. A prolonged closure of the crucial waterway would cause delays in the global shipping chain

The Ever Given is wedged about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the canal's Red Sea entrance near the city of Suez. A prolonged closure of the crucial waterway would cause delays in the global shipping chain

Ships and boats are seen at the entrance of Suez Canal after it was blocked by the stranded container ship Ever Given

Ships and boats are seen at the entrance of Suez Canal after it was blocked by the stranded container ship Ever Given 

Suez Canal mega-ship is on the move! Ever Given is being pulled along after it was successfully refloated, with traffic along the channel set to resume immediately Suez Canal mega-ship is on the move! Ever Given is being pulled along after it was successfully refloated, with traffic along the channel set to resume immediately Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:59 Rating: 5

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