One of the largest container ships in the world has been partially refloated after it ran aground in the Suez Canal, causing a huge jam of vessels at either end of the vital international trade artery, The Guardian reported.
The 200,388 TEU so-called Golden Class vessel, more than 1,300 feet long, became stuck near the southern end of the canal on Tuesday. The Suez Canal Authority said it had lost the ability to steer amid high winds and a dust storm.
Eight tug boats were working to free the vessel. Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) said all crew were safe and accounted for, and there had been no reports of injuries or pollution.
As of Wednesday, five laden liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers were unable to pass through the canal due to the grounded container ship, according to the data intelligence firm Kpler. She said that if the congestion persisted until the end of this week, it would affect the transit of 15 LNG tankers.
Normally ships form convoys to traverse the Suez north and south up and down the canal. The Ever Given was part of a northbound convoy when the incident occurred, according to the shipping agent GAC.
The Suez Canal, which links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and shipping lanes to Asia was expanded in 2015 to enable ships to transit in both directions simultaneously, but only in part of the waterway.
Ships have been grounded in the canal before, but Flavio Macau, a senior lecturer in supply-chain management at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, said one problem was that container ships had become much bigger in recent years.
He added: “Moving about 50 ships a day, the impacts of a stranded ship are negligible unless it takes weeks to float it. But that is very unlikely, and it should be over in a couple of days, tops.”
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