September 30 2022 12:47 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Crews free container ship from Suez

The Ever Given making its way through the Suez Canal in Egypt after being freed on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo: Suez Canal Authority via NYTimes)
The Ever Given making its way through the Suez Canal in Egypt after being freed on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo: Suez Canal Authority via NYTimes)
The mammoth cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal was wrenched from the shoreline and finally set free Monday, raising hopes that one of the world’s most vital maritime routes would quickly rebound and limit the fallout of a disruption that had paralyzed billions of dollars in global trade.اضافة اعلان

Suez Canal Authority Chairman said if the current pace continues, the backlog could be cleared in three-and-a-half days.

Within hours, other ships awaiting transit through the 193km-long waterway that connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas fired up their engines and began moving again.

Salvage teams, working on land and water for six days and nights, were ultimately assisted by the moon and the tides.

The ship, the quarter-mile-long Ever Given, was ultimately set free around 3pm., according to shipping officials. Horns blared in celebration as images emerged on social media of the once stuck ship on the move.

“We pulled it off!” Peter Berdowski, CEO of Royal Boskalis Westminster, a Dutch maritime salvage company hired by the vessel’s owner, said in a statement.
The success, he said, had made “free passage through the Suez Canal possible again.”

With a full moon Sunday, the following 24 hours had offered the best window to work, with a few extra inches of tidal flow providing a vital assist for their efforts.

Throughout the night Sunday and into Monday, tugboats worked in coordination with dredgers to return the 220,000-ton vessel to the water.
Then, just before dawn, the ship slowly regained buoyancy.

It was a turning point in one of the largest and most intense salvage operations in modern history, with the smooth functioning of the global trading system hanging in the balance.

Assisted by a flotilla of tugboats, the ship was towed north to the Great Bitter Lake, the widest part of the 193km-long waterway, so it could be further inspected and so delayed traffic could once gain flow smoothly.

Leth Agencies, a shipping services provider that specializes in canal passages, said on Twitter that with the Ever Given now safely out of the way, 43 other vessels awaiting southbound transit at Great Bitter Lake had resumed their voyages toward the Red Sea end of the canal.

But with hundreds of ships backed up on either side, it could be days before operations return to normal.