A serious incident in Egypt’s Suez Canal has recently occurred that gained worldwide attention. On 23rd March, a giant transportation ship from the Evergreen marine corp. caused the blockage of Suez Canal in Egypt, one of the world’s busiest transportation paths. This has caused a delay of various transportation vessels which have been waiting for rescue boats to release the 400m-long (1,312ft) ship that was stuck about 3.7 miles north of the canal’s southern entrance due to the high winds in a sandstorm. In response to the crisis, Egypt has reopened old canal routes to operate some other traffic before the grounded ship can be freed again.
What Caused the Blockage of Suez Canal to Happen?
According to its owners, the 1,300 foot mammoth ship was stuck in a single-lane section of the canal about 985 feet wide due to heavy winds by a sandstorm that forced it to move sideways causing it to wedge into both edges of the water path. In addition, stacks of containers on deck may have acted as a sail. On the contrary, the chairman of Egypt’s Suez Canal’s stated that the weather conditions were not the main reasons the heavy loaded ship blocked the pathway and that it was mainly caused by technical or human errors.
How many Transportation Vessels have been Delayed due to the Blockage of Suez Canal?
The blockage of the massive transportation Evergreen ship did not only cause a delay to itself but also to several other transportation vessels since it has been stuck for a few days. It was said that at least 360 ships carrying heavy weights of everything from cars to oil to grain have been caught in the heavy traffic jam. According to CNN, the US Navy has offered to help with dredging.
It was uncertain by the authorities of how long it would take to unblock the canal. Shoei Kisen, the ship’s owner said that the goal was to free the ship by the night of March 27. On March 26, an Egyptian presidential adviser stated that the traffic will be restored in 48 to 72 hours. However, according to the CEO of a dredging firm, the process was presumed to take weeks.
This unpredictability has caused some shippers to take a longer route around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa which added weeks to reaching their destination as well as the risk of encountering piracy. Some have made contact with the U.S Navy demanding increased security.
What are the Losses?
Per day, the canal transports approximately 12% of global trade, one million barrels of oil, and 8% of liquefied natural gas. Suez Canal chairman stated on Saturday that the Suez Canal was suffering a $14m-$15m (£10.2m-£10.9m) loss of revenues a day due to the blockage.
As mentioned previously, the alternative route that was taken by several vessels while officials were undergoing procedures to unblock the canal was the Cape of Good Hope. Which takes 34 days, 13,500 nautical miles and 25,002 km to finish a destination unlike taking the route in the Suez Canal which takes only 25.5 days, 10,000 nautical miles and 18,520 km to reach a destination. This dreadfully affected both revenues and time.
Moreover, it was estimated that the grounded ship carries shipments worth of $9.6 billion each day. Which equals to $400m and 3.3 million tons of cargo an hour, or $6.7m a minute. This means that the unfortunate circumstance has caused a loss of around $50 billion dollars while the ship was stuck for a week.
In addition, German insurer Allianz announced on Friday that the analysis showed the cost of the blockage could cost an amount of $6 billion to $10 billion in global trade per week and decline annual trade revenues by 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points.
Finally, the cost of renting some vessels to carry cargo to and from Asia and the Middle East has risen 47 percent to $2.2 million, according to shipping broker Braemar ACM.
Early in Monday’s morning, the massive cargo ship was successfully wrenched from the shoreline and is considered partially afloat again, with officials predicting that the traffic operations could soon be resumed in the Suez Canal.
Thanks to the moon and the tides, the Suez Salvage teams were assisted in the process of freeing the ship while working day and night for 5 days. The hours spent digging and excavating millions of tonnes of soil around the Ever Given paid off as the water levels increased overnight, officials said, as the ship gradually regained buoyancy.
President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi expressed his pleasure and relief by writing in Twitter “Egyptians have succeeded today in ending the crisis of the stuck ship in the Suez Canal despite the great complexities surrounding this situation in every aspect.”
Though shipping officials and Egyptian authorities stated that the situation was still not fully covered, they expressed optimism that the ship would be freed soon and that the operations in the canal will go back to normal.
For detailed information on how they freed the ship, click this link BBC News.
No one imagined that such an incident would occur and therefore cause these economical disasters. It was a tragic circumstance that caused losses for a lot of worldwide trading companies. Thanks to the professional Egyptian team of tugboats, the situation is now resolved and transportation vessels can now travel through the canal normally. Hopefully, the authorities will be making plans to avoid this situation from happening ever again.