A perilous situation is developing in Egypt’s Suez Canal, where a mega container vessel has been stuck in the canal, blocking traffic, since Tuesday.
The stranded vessel, the Ever Given, ran aground following rough weather conditions that included 40-knot winds and a sandstorm. At just over 193-feet wide and 1,300-feet long, the mega vessel was stuck in the canal since Tuesday, bringing one of the world’s most important strategic shipping routes to a grinding halt. Weather conditions hurt the ship’s navigation abilities, according to the Suez Canal Authority.
As of Wednesday, rescue crews sought to float the mega vessel and release it back into the canal for safe passage, and there were reports that the giant ship had been partially re-floated. However, more work remains to free the vessel before normal canal operations can resume. Since Tuesday, satellite footage was obtained and released showing the behemoth scope of the vessel and its blockage after it turned sideways.
The Ever Given is truly a behemoth in shipping.
The Ever Given carries as many of 20,000 containers and weighs approximately 220,000 tons, making it truly a leader in ocean shipping. The advancements made possible by mega container ships like the Ever Given will ultimately allow ocean carriers to carry more cargo and cut costs in various areas, but also opens the door to issues like the current situation.
According to reporting from the New York Times, there are over 100 ships stuck at both ends of the Suez Canal, further highlighting the fact that just one development surrounding a single mega container ship is already having effects on the global flow of shipping and trade. Due to its strategic location, the Suez Canal is key to the smooth flow of goods across the Middle East and the world.
The situation with the stuck container ship comes as global shipping was already facing a series of challenges from increased demand to a shortage of container vessels to delays and slowdowns at key ports across the United States and the world. Hopefully the situation will be resolved quickly with minimal further effects on global commerce.