Marine and rescue engineers failed again on Thursday, in their latest attempt to refloat the container ship operated by Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen Marine, which has been stuck since Wednesday across the Suez Canal after crossing its southern entrance. Called Ever Given, it is currently wedged diagonally across the canal’s waterway.
The Japanese owner of the giant freighter which has been blocking the Suez Canal in Egypt since Tuesday has apologized for the disruption of world trade. Shoei Kisen Kaisha said he was trying to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, but it was extremely difficult to dislodge Ever Given. ” We sincerely apologize for causing much concern to ships in the Suez Canal and to those considering passing through the canal. “, he added.
But even though Ever Given was quickly bailed out, its owner and insurers were facing claims totaling millions of dollars for delays and additional costs incurred by other businesses. The 400-meter-long container ship (one of the largest in the world) and flying the Panamanian flag, a vessel weighing more than 219,000 tonnes, was heading to Rotterdam from Asia. “The container ship accidentally ran aground, probably after being hit by a gust of wind”, said the Taiwanese charterer.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the ship’s manager, said all crew members were unharmed and no injuries or pollution hazards were reported but to clear him it might take weeks. The blockage is creating long delays in the waterway, with more than 150 ships currently waiting in the area to pass. About 12% of world trade passes through the canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and is the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
Passing via the Suez Canal is an alternative route, around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, can take two more weeks. Global crude oil prices rose 6% on Wednesday after traffic on the canal was suspended, although they fell more than 4% on Thursday. According to the Bloomberg agency, “ the 50 ships of all kinds that use it daily, freighters, bulk carriers, tankers and container ships, represent a cumulative value of nearly 10 billion dollars. A shutdown of several days, or even a week, would have cascading effects on the entire logistics chain, which is already very tense at the moment, especially in the industry. “.