Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Megaship blocking Suez Canal may be refloated Saturday: owner

A graphic of a map showing a large ship that has become stuck on the edge of a canal Here's what's likely coming next in the process of removing the Ever Given from the Suez Canal
Bennie Garza | 27 March, 2021, 20:24

"If the Suez Canal remains blocked for more than a few more days or over a week, we could likely see some disruptions in oil flows between the Middle East and Europe that could impact price globally, but it should not hamper flows of oil to North America".

The 400-metre Panama-flagged Ever Given ship has been stuck sideways in the Suez since Tuesday morning after it ran out of power, this has meant that more than 200 vessels have been tailing back from the Suez Canal.

The company aims to free the ship "tomorrow (Saturday) night Japan time", he added.

The Japanese owners of the vessel blocking the Suez Canal said that an attempt will be made to refloat the vessel by taking advantage of tidal movements, which could see the ship dislodged as soon as Saturday.

"Firstly, we do our inspection above and beneath the water ... and then we reduce the load on the ship by removing fuel and water so that once it starts shaking a little, tugboats step in to tow it to an area where the water is deeper".

BSM said "the focus is now on dredging to remove sand and mud from around the port side of the vessel's bow".

"It's a complex technical operation" that will require several attempts to free the vessel, Lieutenant General Osama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said in a statement. There is no problem with its rudders and propellers.

"I think you can imagine there was a queue of ships waiting to go through to begin with, and now that queue has just grown exponentially", he said. "Once it refloats, it should be able to operate", Higaki was quoted as saying.

According to a report published by Reuters on Thursday, March 25, the salvage company tasked to free the 400-meter (1,300-feet) long "Ever Given" said that it might take weeks to finish the job.

An initial investigation showed the vessel ran aground due to strong winds and ruled out mechanical or engine failure, the company said.

Salvage crews worked through the night, using a large dredging machine under floodlights.

According to shipping data the 200,000-tonne ship, which is capable of carrying 20,000 containers - is holding up an estimated £9.6bn ($13.3bn) of goods each day.

Apart from that, shipping lines would be advised to explore the alternative of re-routing ships via Cape of Good Hope, although such re-routing generally takes 15 additional days.

Container ships accounted for 52.7% of the tonnage in 2019 transiting the canal including shipments from Asia to Europe and the United States east coast as well as vice-versa.

"Rough calculations suggest westbound traffic is worth around $5.1 billion daily while eastbound traffic is worth $4.5 billion", said Lloyd's. A Dutch firm working to free the vessel said it could be freed by the start of next week if heavier tugboats, dredging and a high tide succeed in dislodging it. Offers of help from the U.S., China and others are being studied, according to Rabie.

Natural gas prices have increased and food supply chains may be affected if the blockage persists.

"It's going to affect shipping schedules around the world", he added.

In this June 18, 1956 file photo, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser waves as he moves through Port Said, Egypt, during a ceremony in which Egypt formally took over control of the Suez Canal from Britain.

Joe Reynolds, chief engineer of the Maersk Ohio, told the BBC the number of vessels waiting at the canal's southern entrance was "growing exponentially".

Under normal circumstances, the temporary delays in global supply chains would not be a "big issue", it said.

Ratings agency Moody's expects Europe's manufacturing and auto parts suppliers to be most affected because they operate "just-in-time" supply chains, and said port congestion and further delays to the supply chain were "inevitable".

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