Suez Canal crisis latest: Ever Given’s propeller & rudder working again but no prediction when vessel will be refloated

2 months ago 45
KEPT AT BAY

- Where is the Suez Canal?

Live Blog

27 Mar 2021, 23:51Updated: 27 Mar 2021, 23:51

OSAMA Rabie, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority said that the rudder and the propeller of the stranded ship have started to work again.

He added that 14 tugs are currently involved in the operation to free the cargo ship.

He also said that a “technical or human error” could have contributed to the ship being stranded.

Yukito Higaki, president of Shoei Kisen, the company that owns the giant container ship, told a news conference in Imabari, Japan on Friday night that 10 tugboats were deployed and workers were dredging the banks and sea floor near the vessels bow to try to get it afloat again.

One salvage expert said freeing the cargo ship could take days in the best-case scenario and warned of possible structural problems on the vessel as it remains wedged.

Others feared it could be weeks to free the merchant vessel which is a big as the Empire State Building and is reportedly causing about £6.5billion worth of goods every day it remains embedded in the canal wall.

Follow our live blog below for all the latest Suez Canal news and updates...

TWO TUGBOAT MASTERPLAN

A salvage firm boss has revealed his masterplan - involving two tugboats - to save the massive tanker blocking the Suez Canal.

Peter Berdowski - the CEO of Boskalis, the company hired to extract the boat - said that he hoped to have the container ship salvaged within days.

Mr Berdowski said the rescue mission would involve two large tugboats, dredging and high tides.

He told Dutch TV show Nieuwsuur that the front of the Ever Given is stuck in thick clay, but that the back of the ship "has not been completely pushed into the clay and that is positive because you can use the rear end to pull it free".

He said: "The combination of the (tug) boats we will have there, more ground dredged away and the high tide, we hope that will be enough to get the ship free somewhere early next week."

COSTLY DISRUPTION

The canal blockage is causing major disruption to distributing goods worldwide.

Maritime journal Lloyd's List estimates that each day the Suez Canal is closed, more than $9million worth of goods that should be passing through the waterway is disrupted.

BLOCKAGE 'MAKES SENSE' SAYS EXPERT

A shipping industry expert has said the Suez Canal blockage is surprising as it has never happened before, but it makes sense as "ships have been getting bigger and bigger".

Rose George, who has sailed on a cargo ship down the Suez canal, said: "Since 2010, ships have been getting bigger and bigger.

"The canal is big enough, but because the Ever Given is so big, it's longer than the canal is wide, that's the problem."

She added: "They were hoping high tides today would lift up the ship, because obviously with 20,000 containers it's going to be pretty low in the water, but obviously that hasn't been enough."

She was speaking to Francesca Rudkin, reports NewstalkZB.

BLOCKED FOR MORE THAN 100 HOURS

The Ever Given has been blocking the entire width of the Suez Canal for more than 100 hours.

It is costing the global economy an estimated $400m per hour, Daily News Egypt reports.

STUCK IN THE MUD

The Ever Given ship remains stuck in the canal tonight.

The anticipated high tide came but attempts to free the vessel were unsuccessful and most tugs have now disengaged, according to Daily News Egypt.

Higher tides are expected in the coming days.

'TOO MUCH FORCE COULD DAMAGE SHIP'

Fourteen tugs have so far been involved in efforts to refloat the Ever Given, although Boskalis -  parent company of Dutch firm Smit Salvage which has been brought in to help the SCA - and Smit Salvage have warned that using too much force to tug the ship could damage it.

Boskalis Chief Executive Peter Berdowski said a land crane could lighten the Ever Given's load by removing containers, though experts have warned that such a process could be complex and lengthy.

"If we don't succeed in getting it loose next week, we will have to remove some 600 containers from the bow to reduce the weight," he said.

"That will set us back days at least, because where to leave all those containers will be quite a puzzle."

WHERE IS THE SUEZ CANAL?

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.

It is operated and maintained by the state-owned Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of Egypt.

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE EVER GIVEN CONTAINER SHIP?

The Ever Given, one of the world's larest freight container ships got stuck on Tuesday March 23, 2021, when it lost control in a 30mph sand storm and ended up wedged diagonally across the vital Egyptian waterway.

Approximately £7billion of goods on at least 248 vessels were stuck behind the mammoth vessel.

Army digger drivers worked around the clock clawing at the bank where the ship is embedded.

The blockage sparked fears of shortages of fuel and many other goods — as well as Covid vaccines and PPE.

Shipping companies, desperate to keep goods moving, yesterday began rerouting some vessels on a costly, 5,000-mile, 14-day detour around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

LIVESTOCK ABOARD

At least 20 of the boats delayed due to the ship blocking the Suez Canal are carrying livestock, it is claimed.

Marine tracking data shows the animals are on board, raising concerns for their welfare, The Guardian reports.

ON THE MOVE

The helm of the ship moved 30 degrees in both directions, Egypt Today reports.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) chairperson Lieutenant General Osama Rabie made the announcement today.

WHICH COUNTRY OWNS THE SUEZ CANAL?

While the canal was the property of the Egyptian government, European shareholders, mostly French and British, owned the concessionary company which operated it until July 1956.

President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal in an event which led to the Suez Crisis of October–November 1956.

The canal is operated and maintained by the state-owned Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of Egypt.

Under the Convention of Constantinople, it may be used "in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag".

But the canal has played an important military strategic role as a naval short-cut and choke-point.

WHAT DOES THE SUEZ CANAL CONNECT?

The Suez Canal is one of the world's most crucial waterways, providing a vital East to West link for oil, natural gas and cargo.

The artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez, and divides Africa from Asia.

Constructed by the Suez Canal Company between 1859 and 1869, it officially opened on November 17, 1869.

POTENTIAL TOILET ROLL SHORTAGE

Toilet roll supplies are in peril as the Suez Canal remains blocked by a container ship.

Almost all every day items could be effected by the blockage - including food and, of course toilet paper.

“Basically anything you see in the stores,” said Lars Jensen, an independent container shipping expert based in Denmark.

He explained that the blocked ship is another blow to the global shipping system already broken by Covid pandemic disruption.

“This takes capacity out of a system that is already starving for capacity,” he said.

REFLOAT TIME UNCLEAR

Efforts to dislodge the giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal have allowed its stern and rudder to move, but it remains unclear when it can be refloated, the head of the canal authority has said.

The 400-metre long Ever Given became wedged diagonally across a southern section of the canal amid high winds early on Tuesday, blocking one of the world's busiest waterways.

Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie said he hoped it would not be necessary to remove some of the 18,300 containers to lighten the ship's load, but that strong tides and winds were complicating efforts to free it.

"The ship's stern began to move towards Suez, and that was a positive sign until 11 pm (9pm GMT), but the tide fell significantly and we stopped," Rabie told journalists in Suez.

"We expect that at any time the ship could slide and move from the spot it is in."

NEXT HOUR 'CRUCIAL'

The next hour will offer the best opportunity to free the Ever Given tonight, according to the head of the Suez Canal Authority.

This is due to the high tidewater and wind being strong which will help push the ship towards the northeast.

Tides will be at the highest at around 10pm local time (8pm UK time), Egypt Today reported.

SHIP MOVES 30 METRES

The ship has already moved 30 metres towards the north, according to Egypt Today.

It claims this indicates the "re-floating process will success".

'SUPPLY PROBLEMS FOR MONTHS'

The Suez Canal blockage could lead to increased prices and supply problems for months, experts have warned.

Lars Jensen, chief executive of Sea-Intelligence Consulting, told the Daily Mirror that the delay would cause a "ripple effect" with increased freight costs and freight times.

He said: "Even if the canal was to open tomorrow it would cause months of shipping delays.

"This is majorly important for companies and retailers. At some point it will reopen, and when that happens it will be like ketchup out of a bottle.

"Normally Europe receives around 50,000 containers a day as ports can largely handle that flow. Suddenly there will be a huge chunk of cargo at once, resulting in ports congesting. Ports won’t be able to handle this."

MOMENT THE SHIP VEERED OUT OF CONTROL

This is the moment that the Ever Given container ship veered out of control and smashed into the banks of the Suez Canal five days ago.

Maritime tracking technology has simulated the moment the cargo carrier got wedged in the Canal and halted the global trade route.

Moment Suez Canal ship veered out of control and smashed into banks caught on satellite

CONTINUED

Oil Minister Bassam Tomeh told state TV the cargo was due to arrive at the port of Banias on Friday.

He added that if the blockage at the canal persisted, the ship may re-route around the southern tip of Africa, an expensive detour many companies have been forced to consider due to the blockage.

Before Syria's war, the country enjoyed relative energy autonomy, but in the past decade an estimated $91.5 billion in revenue has been lost from hydrocarbons, Syria's oil minister said in February.

Pre-war production was 400,000 barrels per day, compared with just 89 bpd in 2020. Up to 80,000 of those came from Kurdish areas outside government control, where more than 90 percent of the country's reserves are located.

The Syrian government has blamed the economic crisis on Western sanctions and on the knock-on effect of financial catastrophe in neighbouring Lebanon, which had long acted as Syria's economic lifeblood.

SYRIA 'RATIONS' FUEL AS CANAL JAM PERSISTS

Fuel shipments to Syria have been delayed by the blockage of Egypt's Suez Canal, authorities in Damascus said Saturday, warning they were "rationing" fuel to avoid shortages.

Syria, mired in civil war since 2011 and facing a severe economic crisis, had already announced in mid-March a more than 50 percent hike in the price of petrol amid fuel shortages.

Global supply chains have been crippled since Tuesday when a giant container ship ran aground and became wedged diagonally across the span of the Suez Canal, blocking the crucial waterway in both directions.

The suspension "has impacted oil imports to Syria and slowed arrival of a ship carrying fuel and oil products" from government ally Iran, Syria's oil ministry said Saturday.

Pending a resolution, "the ministry is rationing the distribution of available oil products" to assure the continuity of essential services, such as bakeries and hospitals, the ministry statement said.

RATES DOUBLE

Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship became stranded.

And the blockage has scrambled global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.

If it drags on, shippers may decide to reroute around the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to journeys and extra fuel costs.

SEX TOY HOLD UP

A ship stocked with sex toys has been among those blocked from entering the cargo route in Suez Canal, leaving customers frustrated.

The "pleasure boat" carrying around 20 containers full of "dildos, vibrators and male masturbators" is among the 231 ships stuck in a "traffic jam" while attempts to free the passage are ongoing.

Dutch erotic company EDC Retail estimate they have suffered major losses as they are unable to restore stocks.

Bosses are now trying to find a solution while the Ever Given container ship still blocks the main passage and are exploring the alternative of re-routing the ship around Africa - but they said it will take another five to seven days to reach its destination.

Evertine Magerman, the company's CEO told Dutch news outlet RTV Noord: "There are more than twenty containers are full of well-running items, such as vibrators, dildos and male masturbators."

'HUMAN ERROR' TO BLAME

Egypt's Suez Canal chief said today that "technical or human errors" could be behind the grounding of a huge container ship blocking the vital waterway, causing a backlog of over 300 vessels.

Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, told reporters in Suez that the ship could possibly be afloat again by Sunday night.

The crisis has crippled global supply chains, forcing companies to consider the expensive option of re-routing vessels around the southern tip of Africa.

Officials had previously blamed 40-knot gusts and a sandstorm that impeded visibility, but Rabie said Saturday that "strong winds and weather factors were not the main reasons for the ship's grounding -- there may have been technical or human errors".

But he sounded an optimistic note when asked when the vessel might be freed, saying "we could finish today or tomorrow, depending on the ship's responsiveness" to tides.

IKEA AMONG COMPANIES HIT BY JAM

The stranded container ship blocking the Suez Canal threatens to make it even more difficult for European and US retailers to keep products in stock during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Suez Canal saga that began on Tuesday and could go on for weeks is just the latest crisis to strike the global supply chain that was upended when coronavirus shutdowns spurred house-bound consumers to upgrade appliances, sofas, televisions and backyards.

IKEA, the world's largest furniture seller, is among the retailers with goods on the stranded vessel.

It has about 110 containers on the ship wedged in the canal and is investigating how many boxes of products are on other vessels waiting to enter the channel.

"Depending on how this work proceeds and how long it takes to finish the operation, it may create constraints on our supply chain," said a spokesman for IKEA brand owner and franchiser Inter IKEA.

SUEZ CANAL BLOCKAGE COULD HIT PS5 STOCK

PS5 stock could be hit by the blockage in the Suez Canal, it has been claimed.

The ship is blocking almost 30 per cent of global container traffic, and it could impact supply of the Sony consoles, as well as the Xbox Series X and S.

Shortages of certain parts were already having a huge impact on stock levels, but this could make things worse, reports Insider.

Read Entire Article