Anyone who has ever been waved into a parking space with their car in an Egyptian city like Cairo, Alexandria or Suez knows: In Egypt, length measurements are sometimes relative, if a self-appointed parking attendant wants to earn a little something, a car of any size fits in every little gap. And comes out again, undamaged apart from a few small scratches.
The first part of this information becomes the master of the container ship Ever Given hardly interested, he wanted anything but decommission his gigantic freighter. But to sail with him from China through the Suez Canal, destination port Rotterdam, planned arrival so far according to tracking sites such as vesselfinder.com on March 31st. Nothing will come of that: Now the 200,000 ton freighter is across from Suez. Reports of a power failure on board, which also affected the controls, were initially denied by a spokesman for Evergreen, he blamed strong winds for the accident. Whatever the cause: the 400 meter long since Tuesday morning Ever Given so wedged between the two banks of the canal, as if someone had parked his vehicle with the help of Egyptian park rangers.
The unsuccessful maneuver quickly had major consequences: Almost ten percent of world trade passes through the 200-kilometer Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. Around 19,000 ships cross the canal, which was expanded again in 2015, which considerably shortens the route between Asia and Europe, i.e. more than 50 a day. So it came about that there is now a condition in the waterway that Egyptian drivers know only too well: traffic jams.
And that has economic consequences: Because the stuck ships also include tankers with crude oil that is transported through the Suez Canal bottleneck, even the oil price reacted to the delays that are now to be expected in some deliveries. A barrel (159 liters) of Brent North Sea oil cost 61.63 US dollars on Tuesday morning, 84 US cents more than the previous day. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) branded American crude oil rose 62 cents to $ 58.38.
Incident causes ridicule on the Internet
In addition to the damage, the incident naturally caused ridicule after a photo of the blocked channel by a US marine engineer who is now stuck on the ship directly behind went viral. Internet users looked in the transverse Ever Given a symbolic image for really effective lockdown measures, others wished their football club a defense that closes as well as the ship built in 2018.
Some older seafarers, who may not necessarily be on social media, could, however, cheer up the stuck engineer with a bit of sailor’s thread from history: After the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser blocked the Suez Canal during the Six Day War in 1967, some ships like the German were sitting Cargo ship Münsterland stuck there as well – for a whole eight years.
That is how long the involuntary pause becomes Ever Given probably not last, the Egyptian authorities alone are interested in this, collecting around 250,000 dollars for each passage, and the channel contributes several billion dollars to the Egyptian budget every year. Therefore, several tugs have been trying to get the tanker afloat again since Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Suez Canal Authority announced that it would initially divert traffic via an older, disused gully.
However, it is primarily the efforts of an undaunted excavator operator that impressed the Internet users: Compared to the gigantic ship, his machine looks more like an ant, but he tirelessly shovels to free the freighter. And he will make it, everyone is sure who has ever moved a vehicle in Egypt. If you got into a gap there against all odds, you will get out again with a few small scratches.