Suez canal block cleared, traffic resumes

Satellite image

Shipping traffic through Egypt’s Suez Canal resumed on Monday after the blocking giant container ship, ‘Ever Given’ refloated.

The 400-metre long container became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

Live footage on a local television station showed the ship surrounded by tug boats moving slowly in the centre of the canal on Monday afternoon. The station, ExtraNews, said the ship was moving at a speed of 1.5 knots.“

Admiral Osama Rabie, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announces the resumption of maritime traffic in the Suez Canal after the Authority successfully rescues and floats the giant Panamanian container ship EVER GIVEN,” a statement from the SCA said.

According to reports, at least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels. Authorities hope the backlog can be cleared within three days by allowing 100 ships a day to cross Suez canal.

Shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel. About 15% of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal.