The Suez canal has become blocked by the 220,000-tonne Ever Given after the container vessel was blown off course by a “suspected gust of wind”
The Suez Canal is currently blocked, after the 400m-long containership, Ever Given, ran aground after losing steerage way mid-channel, reports the Guardian.
The Ever Given became stuck near the southern end of the Canal yesterday and so far, efforts to re-float her have failed. Early reports speculate that she suffered a loss of power, but the ship’s operator, Evergreen Marine Corp told Agency-France Presse that “the container [ship] accidentally ran aground after a suspected gust of wind hit it”.
Forecasters said high winds and a sandstorm had hit the area on Tuesday, with winds gusting to 50 kph. Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages Evergreen said “all the crew are safe and accounted for… There have been no reports of injuries or pollution”.
The Ever Given is a ultra large container ship (ULCS) and is carrying hundreds of containers to the Port of Rotterdam from China. She is Panama-flagged and operated by Evergreen from their offices in Taiwan.
Footage shows the vessel wedged diagonally across the channel as Egyptian tug vessels try to free her from the bank. The banks of the Canal are sand and the chances of the vessels floating off with minimal damage are fair.
Traffic is backing up at either end of the Canal and if the vessel is not re-floated soon, some ships en route to transit the Canal may choose to re-route around the Cape of Good Hope.
With the current strain on supply chains, the blockage could not have come at a worse time. ULCS are a new class of vessel and some are reported to be too big to even transit the Panama Canal, the world’s other strategic ship canal.