An ultra large container ship operated by Evergreen ran aground on the Suez Canal on Tuesday, blocking traffic on one of the world’s most important waterways.
A picture taken by crew onboard another ship in the canal, the Maersk Denver, shows the 2018-built 20,388 teu Ever Given, which was en route from Shenzhen to Rotterdam, blocking the canal in both directions after it got stuck near the Red Sea entrance of the canal yesterday morning.
A large backlog of ships is now massing on either side of the waterway, waiting to go through.
An Egyptian official who spoke to the Associated Press confirmed that efforts to remove the ship would take at least two days and blamed a strong 50 km/h gust of wind for the accident.
Multiple reports cite local agents saying the ship lost power before veering starboard, with its bulbous bow becoming lodged into the bank of the canal. Diggers are currently trying to dig around the bow, while Egypt has mustered every available tug to shift the giant 399 m long vessel.
Shipping agency GAC reported the ship, owned by Shoei Kisen and on charter to Evergreen, suffered a black out while transiting in a northerly direction at 07.40 hours local time yesterday. An update from GAC today shows there has been no discernible progress to dislodge the laden ship.
Leth Agencies reports today that seven tugs have been assisting the Ever Given thus far, while canal authorities have dispatched a dredger to help in the refloating efforts.
The vessel, built by Imabari, was among the first series of ships in excess of 20,000 teu to be constructed in Japan. It is the largest ship to run aground in the 152-year history of the key artery linking Europe with Asia.
TankerTrackers tweeted that there were a lot of fully-laden tankers stuck at either end of the canal carrying Saudi, Russian, Omani and US oil while data provided by eeSea below shows the volume of containerships heading for the Suez.