[UPDATE] Tug boats working to re-float huge container ship blocking Suez Canal
The cargo ship which ran aground in the Suez Canal on Wednesday is blocking one of the world's most important trade routes.
About 12% of global trade passes through the waterway which provides the shortest shipping link between Asia and Europe.
The length of the 400-metre Ever Given is being compared to the height of the Eiffel Tower, to indicate its size.
It broadsided after 40-knot winds and a sandstorm caused low visibility, according to the Suez Canal Authority.
Latest reports indicate that tug boats are working to free the ship and refloat it.
The Suez Canal, one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, is reportedly blocked because someone accidentally got stuck with their giant container ship. The photo is unreal. pic.twitter.com/I2ACkBqPi2— Marcel Dirsus (@marceldirsus) March 23, 2021
It's not often you see a sight like this, says Captain Vernon Keller, Deputy Chief Operations Officer at the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa).
He tells Bruce Whitfield it would be extremely tricky to go the route of offloading the vessel to help re-float it.
What happened is that the bulbous bow [bulb at the bow just beneath the waterline] is basically stuck on the other side. I know that they're trying to dislodge that at the moment, but obviously it's very difficult under the circumstances and they're waiting for a high tide.Captain Vernon Keller, Deputy Chief Operations Officer - SA Maritime Safety Authority
What makes it so difficult is that the vessel is so fully-laden. She's got over 20,000 containers on board which means that if they can't refloat this vessel it will be quite a difficult task to remove the cargo and re-float it.Captain Vernon Keller, Deputy Chief Operations Officer - SA Maritime Safety Authority
The last grounding in the Suez canal was in 2017 when another large container ship ran aground, but that one was re-floated in a couple of hours.Captain Vernon Keller, Deputy Chief Operations Officer - SA Maritime Safety Authority
If they're unable to re-float the Ever Given "in the next couple of hours" the owners of the vessels being blocked would have to consider the difficult decision of the extra time and cost to sail around South Africa's Cape coast.
Listen to Captain Keller's insights in the audio below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : [UPDATE] Tug boats working to re-float huge container ship blocking Suez Canal
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