Optimism But Concern as Megaship Still Stuck in Suez

Suez Canal

"We could finish today or tomorrow [Sunday], depending on the ship's responsiveness" to high tides, he said, adding that 14 tugboats were deployed around the stricken vessel.

A high tide was expected to start Sunday night.

If that doesn't work, the company will remove hundreds of containers from the front of the ship to lighten it, effectively lifting the ship to make it easier to pull free, Berdowski said.

The trapped ship weighs 223,000 tons, carries about 18,000 containers, and has a length of 400 meters.

Japanese owner Shoei Kisen has asked for forgiveness and said the job was proving "extremely hard".

Yukito Higaki, president of Shoei Kisen, said on Friday that the ship did not appear to be damaged.

Workers have begun using machinery that can remove pulverised rocks in a bid to free the ship.

In the USA, the blockage could worsen monthslong snarls in the global supply chain, causing shortages of products such as toilet paper, coffee and furniture in the U.S.

He added that almost 10,000 tons of ballast had been removed from the Ever Given to attempt to refloat the ship.

There are now three plans in place to refloat the ship: the first being towing the ship from both sides and the second is digging out sand and mud from beneath the bow using dredgers.

"We are not losing any oil supply but it will tie up tankers for longer if they have to go around" the tip of Africa, she said, which is roughly an additional two-week trip.

"We wented to state that we are available and ready to help both in towing and dredging", Plakiotakis said, adding that the incident creates a "huge problem".

Salvage crews worked through the night, using a large dredging machine under floodlights.

Apparently anticipating long delays, the owners of the stuck vessel diverted a sister ship, the Ever Greet, to head around Africa instead, according to satellite data.

The situation has forced numerous ships to re-route via Cape of Good Hope.

He said 321 vessels were waiting to enter or continue their transit through the canal.

"Rough calculations suggest westbound traffic is worth around $5.1 billion daily while eastbound traffic is worth $4.5 billion".

The SCA said in a statement that dredgers had so far shifted 27,000 cubic metres of sand, to a depth of 18m (59ft).

Even before the skyscraper-sized Ever Given, carrying cargo between Asia and Europe, ran aground Tuesday, Syria had been suffering from fuel shortages mostly caused by Western sanctions.

Natural gas prices have increased and food supply chains may be affected if the blockage persists. Mark Ma, owner of China-based Seabay International Freight Forwarding Ltd, which has 20 to 30 containers waiting to cross the blocked canal, said that if traffic doesn't resume in a week, "it will be horrible".

It remains to be seen whether the Ever Given will get out of the Suez Canal, but it's at least nice to know that we're not the only ones in a tight spot this year. Its temporary closure might affect 10-15% of world container throughput, Moody's Investors Service has estimated.

In February 2019, EVER GIVEN collided with a small ferry in Germany's Blankenese and badly damaged it, causing global shipping to stop in the Port of Hamburg.