Unveiling the Truth: New Ever Given Report Showcases Role of Suez Canal Pilots in 2021 Blockage


The grounding of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal in early 2021 halted 12% of global trade. The accident report highlights strong winds and poor visibility as the cause. Efforts to refloat the ship failed, causing a major disruption in maritime shipping.

The Panama Maritime Authority released the accident report, revealing crucial details about the incident.

The Suez Canal, spanning 193 kilometers, connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and is managed by the Suez Canal Authority. The Ever Given, a massive container ship, was awaiting transit south of the canal before its ill-fated voyage. It encountered adverse winds, leading to it dragging anchor. Despite the captain’s attempt to relocate the ship, it was instructed to hold position by port control due to an incoming convoy and pilot.

During the transit, the ship faced challenges as wind speed increased and visibility decreased. The SCA pilots struggled to keep the ship centered in the channel and ordered increased speed. However, the vessel turned to starboard and eventually ran aground, blocking the canal.

The report highlights the importance of effective pilot management and communication with the bridge team.

Language difficulties hindered understanding between pilots and the bridge team, impairing risk assessment. The captain’s interventions and instructions were ineffective in preventing the grounding.

The report emphasizes the responsibility of the master and bridge team for vessel handling. The influence of squat and bank effects, along with excessive speed, contributed to the loss of maneuverability and grounding.

Recommendations include crew training, improved communication during pilotage, and internal auditing.

The Suez Canal Authority should review procedures, train pilots for larger vessels, establish English as the working language, and implement alert systems and contingency plans.

The grounding of the Ever Given had significant implications for global trade. The accident report’s findings and recommendations aim to prevent similar incidents in the future, prompting the industry to consider necessary changes.