Efforts to dislodge ship blocking Suez Canal enter sixth day

Efforts are continuing Sunday to dislodge a massive container ship wedged in the Suez Canal in Egypt, blocking one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes.

The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Osama Rabie, said at a press conference Saturday that the ship’s rudder and propeller had moved, calling it a “positive sign,” but it remains unclear when the Ever Given, which became stuck Tuesday during a sandstorm, will be refloated. Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the ship’s Japanese owner, had said Friday they were aiming to free the ship on Saturday night Japan time.

While the cause of what happened is still to be determined, Rabie did not rule out the possibility of technical or human error, saying an investigation will be carried out. The incident involving the 400-meter long Ever Given operated by Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine has caused a bottleneck in the vital trade artery connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, with more than 300 ships waiting to enter or complete their journey through the canal. If attempts to use dredging and tugboats at high tide prove difficult, cargo may have to be removed to make the ship lighter.

The ship was bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands from China when it became stuck in the canal.

Featured image: An aerial view taken on March 27, 2021 from the porthole of a commercial plane shows stranded ships waiting in queue in the Gulf of Suez to cross the Suez Canal at its southern entrance near the Red Sea port city of Suez, as the waterway remains blocked by the Panama-flagged container ship (AFP/Mahmoud Khaled)

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