New“Time to dig a new canal,” “Ships have become so massive these days,” “Suez slows down the trading” – such comments we have heard since five days. It happens when the world faces the most crucial economic obstruction.
One of the world’s most important shipping lanes, the Suez Canal, is in crisis these days. It connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and separates Africa and Asia.
About 12% of all global trade flows through the 120-mile (193km) canal.
It is geographically imperative because it serves as a trading link from Asia to Europe and vice versa in less time and less cost. If the alternate path is chosen, ships would have to go around Africa’s southern tip, which takes more time and is an area with dangerous storms.
EVER GIVEN IS STUCKED!
Approximately 400 meters long, EVER GIVEN is one of the largest cargo ships in the world. The MV Ever Given’s owners say a gust of wind pushed it and its colossal cargo of more than 20,000 shipping containers sideways in the canal on Tuesday, March 23, wedging it between the canal’s sandy banks.
A SATELLITE VIEW OF SUEZ CANAL BLOCKAGE
HOW THE BLOCKAGE IN SUEZ CANAL IMPACTING TRADE?
According to Worlds Shipping Council, almost 106 cargo vessels pass through the canals daily, which means a considerable loss in trade on the international level.
“Even the slightest delay in traffic can result in congestion and disturb the delivery of goods and commodities on both sides,” according to analysts at S&P Global Platts.
It is the critical route of oil tankers moving to and from the Middle East. Delays have already begun in the hours following the incident. About 42 vessels seeking to travel northbound and 64 southbound are now waiting, Bloomberg reported.
According to a senior canal pilot at the SCA, at least 160 ships carrying vital fuel and cargo are waiting to pass through the blocked waterway.
HOW LONG SHALL SUEZ FACE THE CRISIS?
It is very vague to predict how and when the traffic would typically pass through the canal. According to experts and officials, we might have seen more delays in shipments in the upcoming days.
“If the method is not correct it might take a week, and if it’s done well it might take two days,” an official said.
The ship’s Japanese owner said it aimed to free the vessel by Saturday afternoon UK time but could not guarantee the effort would be complete by then.
Experts fear that the giant Ever Given (400m long) and has a gross tonnage of almost 220,000 has wedged so far into the sand on banks of the canal that it might not be possible to dislodge it without removing some of its cargo. Such a process could take weeks, according to Peter Berdowski, chief executive of Boskalis, a specialist dredging company that has sent a crew to the scene.
EFFORTS TO DISLOGDE THE SHIP
Dislodging the vessel could take “days to weeks, depending on what you come across,” according to Peter Berdowski, the CEO of Boskalis, whose sister company SMIT salvage is now working to free the ship.
The first step would be to remove fuel oil and ballast water from the ship, added, and try to move it at high tide. If that doesn’t work, staff will have to remove containers and try to dig or flush away the sandbanks in which the ship is now lodged, Berdowski said.
AN EXCAVATOR IS TRYING TO FREE EVER GIVEN’S FRONT END
Global shipping companies are starting to reroute cargo away from vessels’ jams on both sides of the stricken Ever Given. The US navy is reportedly preparing to send an assessment team of dredging experts, CNN reported.
Reducing the loads or digging around the ships would be the ultimate solution to get back the most important trade route. We hope the world is not going to face further delay in trades.
SUEZ CANAL: EVER GIVEN FREED AFTER A WEEK
After a week, the salvage teams and high tides partially re-floated the EVER GIVEN.
With every hour passing, the shipping industry, businessmen and insurance companies were counting the exceeding cost they had to face while the vessel was stuck with oil containers and other trading goods in Suez Canal.
Fortunately, convoy of tugboats and days of intensive dredging with the help of high tides that reached to their highest point with the full moon succeeded to free the 220,000-tonne Ever Given and haul it towards a lake between the north and south end of the canal, where the ship went through the technical inspection, canal authorities said.
“We pulled it off!” said Peter Berdowski, the chief executive of the Dutch salvaging firm Boskalis, which was hired to assist in the process. “I am excited to announce that our team of experts, working in close collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority, successfully refloated the Ever Given on 29 March at 15.05 local time, thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again.”
He said 30,000 cubic meters of sand had been dredged to help free the vessel, which had been pulled free using 13 tugboats.
“The [Ever Given] came out intact and it has no problems,” Rabie told the local Nile TV. “We’ve just searched the bottom and soil of the Suez Canal and thankfully it is sound and has no issues, and ships will pass through it today.”
There were cheers at the site on Monday morning when the stern of the vessel was successfully rotated about 80%, which is indeed a huge success of Egyptians.
Although many Ships were re-routed towards the Cape of Good Hope a day before the Ever Given was set free. This diversion would cost them extra fuel and seven to ten days more to reach their destination.
The Ever Given will be on its route in a day or two.