The giant container Ever Given ship was afloat and Egypt's Suez Canal shipping traffic resumed on Monday. Salvage teams freed the ship in the Suez Canal, almost a week after it ran aground. The 400-metre long Ever Given got jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
While the ship is floating again, it wasn't immediately clear how soon the waterway would be open to traffic, or how long it will take to clear the logjam of more than 450 ships stuck, waiting and en route to the Suez that has identified it as their next destination.
The backlog is one more strain for global supply chains already stretched by the pandemic as the canal is a conduit for about 12% of global trade. Some ships have already opted for the long and expensive trip around the southern tip of Africa instead of Suez.
The breakthrough in the rescue attempt came after diggers removed approximately 30,000 cubic metres of sand and dredged to refloat the 224,000-ton container ship and a total of 11 tugs and two powerful sea tugs were used to pull the ship off.
At least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, the SCA's Rabie said.
The authority said earlier it would be able to accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given was freed. "We will not waste one second," Rabie told Egyptian state television.
He said it could take up to three days to clear the backlog, and a canal source said more than 100 ships would be able to enter the channel daily. Shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel.