Suez Canal suspends traffic as tug boats work to free ship

Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said it was temporarily suspending navigation through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes until the grounded container vessel MV Ever Given is refloated.

The announcement on Thursday came after low tide overnight slowed efforts to dislodge the massive vessel that has chocked traffic in both directions along the canal and created one of the worst shipping jams seen in years.

Two professional rescue teams from the Netherlands and Japan will work with local authorities to design a more effective plan to refloat the Ever Given container ship, the company leasing the ship said.

Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine Corp said Smit Salvage from the Netherlands and Nippon Salvage from Japan had been appointed by the shipowner and would work alongside the captain and the Suez Canal Authority.

Lars Jensen, a Denmark-based maritime expert, said that if the Ever Given container ship remains stuck, the impact on global trade could be huge.

The blockage is stopping other ships from passing and creating long tailbacks in the canal.

Almost 19,000 ships passed through the canal in 2020, according to the Suez Canal Authority - an average of 51.5 ships per day.

Service provider Leth Agencies said a total of 156 vessels waiting in the area on Thursday, and that three behind Ever Given were being assisted and escorted back to Port Suez in the south.

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Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC

BDP International is actively monitoring the situation and reaching out to our customers who have cargo aboard the EVER GIVEN, as well as the impact on other vessels in the area. We will continue to share updates as we receive them, but should you have any questions or concerns please reach out to your local BDP representative.