Container ship blocks Suez Canal: power failure, storm and poor visibility


Status: 24.03.2021 2:13 p.m.

A 400 meter long container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal and is blocking one of the most important waterways in the world. Tugs try to free the ship – so far unsuccessfully.

By Björn Blaschke,
ARD-Studio Kairo

The “Ever Given” of the shipping company “Evergreen” was traveling in a convoy typical of the Suez Canal when there was apparently a power failure on board the container transporter – this was announced by a logistics company specializing in sea trade. Then a storm and poor visibility probably threw the “Ever Given” off course, according to the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority. Now the bow and stern are stuck on the banks of the Suez Canal.

Osama Rabia, the head of the Suez Canal Authority: “The ship went aground at kilometer 151 of the canal. Twelve ships had already sailed through the canal before that.”

Smugglers try to free the “Ever Given”

The “Ever Given” built in 2018, which is 400 m long and 59 m wide, is flying the Panamanian flag, came from China and was on its way to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The ships in front of the container transporter could continue their journey unhindered, the fifteen behind the “Ever Given” have to wait. Just like everyone else who wants to pass the canal.

Smugglers try to free the damaged woman. If they fail, the cargo may be reloaded to other ships to make the “Ever Given” easier.

Can take days

Citing the Egyptian Suez Canal authority, it is also said in Egypt that it may take days before the container transporter gets back on the road. And with it all other ships.

Rabia explains: You have to wait, but when we’re done we’ll work 24 hours to let as many convoys through as possible to make up for the delays, and we’ll think about other options. ”

Impact on world trade

A naval historian told a broadcaster that the “Ever Given” was the largest ship ever to run aground in the Suez Canal. Such incidents are rare and could have “enormous effects on world trade”. The reason: The Suez Canal, an artificial waterway that was completed in 1862, connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea in northern Egypt. This makes the canal the shortest and most important sea trade connection between Asia and Europe. It enables the passage of around twelve percent of all international sea trade.

According to the Suez Canal Authority, almost 19,000 transporters – or an average of 51.5 per day – passed the canal last year in order to save the circumnavigation of Africa. They transported a total of more than a billion tons of cargo.

Suez Canal is a lifeline

The Suez Canal is approximately 190 km long, and only a few years ago the Egyptian government deepened the waterway and opened a 35 km parallel passage.

The Suez Canal is a lifeline for Egypt: Egypt declared that the country was able to earn 5.6 billion US dollars through it last year – the sum of the user fees that ship operators have to pay when they want to cross the Suez Canal. 5.6 billion US dollars – due to Corona, that is a little less than in previous years, but still accounts for around a fifth of Egyptian state income.

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Container ship blocks Suez Canal power failure storm poor visibility


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