Suez Canal: Freighter “Ever Given” blocked by 20,000 cubic meters of sand

The Suez Canal is the most important waterway between Europe and Asia. There, on Tuesday (March 23), the huge container ship “Ever Given” (400 meters long, 59 meters wide) ran aground and blocked the entire canal, hundreds of container ships are stuck in a traffic jam.

Up to 20,000 cubic meters of sand in the Suez Canal have to be removed to free the gigantic container ship. The blockade According to the rescue team, it could drag on for weeks – with dramatic consequences!

The “Ever Given” has already blocked the way for around 200 shipsPhoto: Cnes2021 / AP

The bow and stern of the 400-meter-long ship had been pushed up on the sides of the canal, said the boss of the Bos company involved in the salvage work, Peter Berdowski, the Nieuwsuur broadcaster on Thursday. The “Ever Given” is thus “like a huge, stranded whale”.

According to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), two dredgers, nine tugs and four dredgers are working on the canal bank to remove sand and mud from the bow of the ship. In addition, a special suction dredger is to be used on board the ship. Objective: to reach a depth of twelve to 16 meters in which the ship can swim.

Compared to the 32.9 meter high giant freighter, the excavator looks rather small

Compared to the 32.9 meter high giant freighter, the excavator looks rather smallPhoto: / AP

The economic consequences of the traffic jam are extreme: The “Ever Given” holds an estimated 8.1 billion euros in goods per day, reports the BBC. This corresponds to a trading volume of 400 million dollars, around 339 million euros per hour.

The blockade is also causing uncertainty in the oil market: Oil prices rose on Friday. A barrel (159 liters) of Brent North Sea oil cost $ 62.71 that morning. That was 76 cents more than the day before. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) branded American crude rose 81 cents to $ 59.37.

The Suez Canal, whose history began more than 150 years ago, is one of the most important trade routes in the world and allows ten percent of all international sea trade to pass through. According to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), almost 19,000 ships with a total of more than a billion tons of cargo passed through the canal last year.

The world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk, is currently looking into whether it should send its ships around the southern tip of Africa. That would mean an additional driving time of up to six days.

Infographic: The expansion of the Suez Canal in Egypt


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