Dhe huge container freighter “Ever Given”, which had been blocking the Suez Canal since last Tuesday, appears to have been partially liberated. The recovery company managed to get the 400-meter-long giant a good piece off the ground early on Monday morning. “We’re not done yet, but that’s good news,” said Osama Rabie, head of the Canal Authority (SCA) in Egypt. The German press agency had previously reported that the freighter had been “freed”. This was due, among other things, to a report from Inchcape Shipping Services, which reported that the “Ever Given” had “been successfully brought to swim” at 4:30 am local time. The owner of the ship, Shoei Kisen, then said at noon in Japan that the ship was at least moving. According to ship trackers, the stern is floating and has clearly moved away from the canal wall, and the bow has also clearly moved towards the fairway. But now the work seems to have stopped again.
Business correspondent for South Asia / Pacific based in Singapore.
The freighter of the Taiwanese shipping company “Evergreen Marine” blocks one of the most important waterways in the world. If the “Ever Given” comes out of the canal, the next step is to reduce the backlog of the almost 400 ships on both sides of the canal as quickly as possible. This could take another seven days. Because normally 50 ships can sail the waterway every day.
During and after the recovery, the condition of the hull of the “Ever Given” and the effects of the towing and previous excavation attempts must be constantly checked. In the meantime it has been found that one of the ballast tanks in the forecastle is damaged. The machine and rudder, however, are ready for operation, explained the ship manager Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), who is responsible for technology and crew. Of course, engineers and divers checked on site whether the enormous forces had caused stress cracks in the hull.
But not only the ship, but also the behavior of the bridge crew is checked. Trackers refer to maneuvers before entering the canal, but also to deviations from the narrow ideal line there, which are classified as “strange”. However, there should have been very strong gusts during the passage during which two pilots were on board. An outer surface of the ship of around 10,000 square meters, which is hit by strong winds, also raises the question of the reliability and maneuverability of the 224,000 ton giant ships for use in narrow waterways in such a narrow fairway. The “Ever Given” and a comparable ship had also suffered accidents on the Elbe.
Sent on a detour
Due to the blockade in the past few days, more and more shipowners had no choice but to prescribe a new, expensive route for their captains. World market leader AP Møller-Mærsk said that they have now sent 15 ships on the long detour around the Cape of Good Hope, because it is assumed that this will take just as long as the delay in the canal.
This means that the costs for the global economy continue to rise every hour despite the exemption of the “Ever Given”. “The problem is that the blockade in the Suez Canal is causing the barrel to overflow. The interruption in supply chains since the beginning of the year (too few containers, semiconductors) could cost real growth in world trade 1.4 percentage points, or around 230 billion dollars, in addition to the closure of the Suez Canal, ”warn analysts at Allianz Insurance. “Initial calculations show that traffic to the west is worth around $ 5.1 billion a day, and traffic to the east is worth $ 4.5 billion. According to our calculations, each week closure should cost the annual growth in global trade between 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points, ”they continue with a view to the direct consequences of the stuck 400-meter-long large freighter.
The blockade costs the canal operators themselves around 15 million dollars a day in fees. “The whole thing is a heavy burden on the already stretched supply chains that have just recovered from the coronavirus consequences. If it takes weeks, it should turn into what we call a catastrophe, ”warns Rahul Kapoor, responsible for maritime trade at IHS Global Insight in Singapore.