Suez Canal: Ever Given on the move after being refloated
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Suez Canal traffic is flowing smoothly as shipping companies attempt to catch up on deliveries after days of delays. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) dislodged a supertanker, the length of which exceeded the width of the canal, on Monday, nearly one week after it was stranded. Questions remain about the event – which incurred daily costs in the billions – and investigations have already started.
How damaged is the Ever Given?
The Ever Given’s bow and stern caught against the east and west banks of the canal on March 23.
Suez crews dislodged it six days later on March 29, and it has since docked in the Great Bitter Lake, further up the canal.
Investigations now seek to understand what caused the unique situation.
Evergreen Marine, the company responsible for building and operating the Ever Given, assigned the immediate blame to inclement weather.
In a statement, they said the ship’s hull was forced to “deviate” by “a sudden strong wind”.
The hull then “accidentally hit the bottom and run aground”, they added.
Authorities have not released official conclusions just yet and recently started investigating the ship’s undercarriage.
Divers inspected the Ever Given’s underside in a bid to spot clues as to what caused the week-long crisis.
Two anonymous senior canal officials disclosed they had discovered slight damage on the vessel’s bow.
But the damage wasn’t enough to take it out of service.
Experts are still studying the extent of the ship’s wounds, but one official added they would not impede navigation.
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In effect, the ship could leave the trade artery when it chooses, but bureaucracy has kept it in place.
Ever Given’s operators would need to discuss “several legal and procedural” paths with the SCA before it departs either back to its port in China or sets down in Rotterdam, its original destination.
The SCA now has two situations on its hands, clearing the backlog of vessels trying to pass through the area and concluding its investigation into the blockage.
The latter task may take some time yet, as the Ever Given’s captain must still hand over the ship’s black box.
With this, the SCA could reliably map the ship’s actions up to its trouble on the canal.
The Ever Given won’t have permission to exit the trade route until the investigation concludes.
The authority’s other duty is ensuring the backlog of ships can find their way through.
They have had more success on this front, as more than 160 ships have passed since it reopened on Wednesday.
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