World After Jubilation on the Suez Canal Comes the Investigation
Opinion: Suez Canal traffic jam blocks the world's jugular vein
A failure of machinery, human error or natural events -- high winds and reduced visibility - may have caused Ever Given to run ashore in the Suez Canal, writes Salvatore R. Mercogliano. But its impact will resonate far from its banks as it has blocked the jugular of one of the largest trade routes in human history. The Suez Canal was opened in November 1869 to great fanfare after 10 years of excavation. A joint endeavor by France and Great Britain, it provided a shorter route to Asia than having to circumnavigate Africa. Connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea, the vital waterway was essential to maritime commerce.
In the end, it took roughly six days and seven hours to undo the minutes of drama that exposed the vulnerability of global trade and captivated the world. It may take longer to figure out how to avoid it happening again.
At just after 3 p.m. local time on Monday, the Ever Given was dislodged from a sand bank in the Suez Canal by tugboats pushing and pulling to rock it loose. To cheers from the dozens of crew working on the effort to refloat it and relief among Egyptian authorities, the enormous 21st century container ship that got stuck in a waterway first opened in 1869. The backlog of about 400 ships started moving that evening.
Suez Canal Remains Choked as Elite Team Tackles Stuck Ship
A huge backlog of vessels was building up around the Suez Canal amid warnings that the salvage team could need days -- or even weeks -- to prise out the giant container ship that’s blocking the crucial waterway. Work to re-float the Ever Given and allow passage for oceangoing carriers hauling almost $10 billion of oil and consumer goods continued without success on Thursday in Egypt. Tugs and diggers have so far failed to budge the vessel, and some experts say the crisis could drag on for several days. The Suez Canal Authority has temporarily suspended traffic along the waterway.
“Despite the difficult situation we’ve confronted, Egyptians stood beside their leadership and their country and endured the crises and registered their joy,” President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared at a press conference on Tuesday alongside, the chief executive of the Suez Canal Authority.
Yet, the fallout from the incident in such a vital artery of the globalized economy is just beginning. Insurers are alreadythe cost and who might be on the hook, but the real focus is quickly shifting to what went wrong.
There will be questions about speed, whether the Ever Given should have employed tugs and if it should have braved the journey through the wind at all. Egyptian investigators, led by a canal authority committee, will analyze recordings from the deck, including conversations among crew.
Energy, retail, and food: Ever Given blockage threatens supply chains
Global trade has been unsettled after a massive container vessel became wedged in the Suez Canal and blocked passage, possibly for weeks to come. © Provided by Washington Examiner The 200,000-ton behemoth known as Ever Given ran aground earlier this week when a powerful sandstorm packing winds in excess of 45 mph buffeted the ship and caused it to become lodged between the banks of the critical passageway. Since the incident, officials have been working to dislodge the vessel, although estimates about how long that might take vary from days to weeks.
Gusts exceeded 40 miles per hour when Ever Given braved the journey on March 23. The Suez Canal has witnessed plenty of winds and bad weather, and tankers have faced worse without getting stuck, Rabie said.
He distanced Egypt from responsibility, blaming the wind and possible “human and technical errors,” though promised a full probe into what happened. He also said the authority will look into whether they need new tugs with better capabilities.
“The Suez Canal authority should learn something on how this accident could have happened and what kind of measures are needed to prevent this,” Peter Berdowski, chief executive of Boskalis, the owner of Netherlands-based salvage experts SMIT, told Dutch radio.
The manager of the ship, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, has already said initial inquiries suggest the accident was due to the wind. An extensive probe is ongoing and will include interviews with pilots onboard and all bridge personnel and other crew, a company spokesman said on March 27.
Ever Given, the giant ship blocking the Suez Canal, had another accident in 2019 when it crashed into a small ferry in Germany
The Suez Canal blockage is not the first accident for the big boat, and winds were also named as the cause in the 2019 incident.But apparently, it wasn't the first accident for the big boat.
What’s sure is that the 400-meter-long Ever Given was firmly wedged in the canal’s bank. It was time to call. As television footage showed tugs were unable to budge the ship, SMIT began scrambling a plan, according to people familiar with the situation.
After being employed by Ever Given’s Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd., on March 24, plane tickets were booked to fly staff to Egypt from the Netherlands. There were media reports that the ship had refloated, but the SMIT team had data on where the vessel was sitting and knew it would require more, the people said.
The problem was the location of the Egyptian tugs. The Suez Canal authorities had deployed tugs to the north side of the Ever Given, and were tugging from there. Because of the way she was lodged into the canal wall, pulling or pushing from that direction was ineffective.
“If you want to pull a vessel heading north from her side, you have to pull on the south side,” Boskalis spokesman Martijn Schuttevaer said on March 24. The company sent a number of tug boats, including heavy anchor tugs and other resources, to the south side, he said.
Engineers start to refloat ship stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal
Egyptian authorities said engineers have "successfully started to refloat" the colossal cargo ship that became stuck on the banks of the Suez Canal last week. The so-called Ever Given, a 224,000-ton, 1,300-foot-long container ship registered in Panama, was freed from the shoreline as its course was corrected by 80%. The engineers, who have been trying for days to pull the fully laden vessel with tug boats, are scheduled to resume their efforts later Monday morning as the water level rises to its maximum, "allowing the ship's course to be completely straightened," according to a statement from Egypt's Suez Canal Authority.
The pressure was on to clear one of the world's busiest waterways, with all the media and world watching. There was also a tidal deadline. Had the operation missed the highest tide in weeks, it could have meant having to spend days offloading containers.
President El-Sisi said he told Suez chief Rabie to prepare for the worst. “I asked him what is the most difficult scenario,” El-Sisi said on Tuesday. “He told me it’s the offloading of containers. I said let’s be ready. Whatever it costs we have to be ready in a crisis like this.”
By March 26, people familiar with the rescue efforts wereit would take until at least this Wednesday to dislodge the vessel. The canal authority had been dredging using a cutter suction dredger called the . It basically churns mud and sand underwater, sucks it up and spits it out via a pipeline.
There had been some more refloating attempts, and every time the ship didn’t move, it was a concern for the salvage crew. But a breakthrough came early Monday morning, when the ship was partially dislodged and she started to pivot. The dredgers continued scraping away sand at the bow.
Then it happened. Boskalis CEO Berdowski could see live on the radar the ship was coming afloat. What followed was a “tense 10 minutes,” he told Dutch radio on Monday. There was a chance the boat could then drift and get stuck on the other side, he said.
Egypt's Sisi promises investment to avoid another Suez closure
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged Tuesday investment to avoid any repetition of the past week's closure of the Suez Canal as he paid a celebratory visit to the reopened trade artery. The promise came a day after the refloating of the giant container vessel MV Ever Given, which hit the eastern bank of the narrow shipping lane last Tuesday and became wedged diagonally across its span for nearly a week. "We will acquire all theThe promise came a day after the refloating of the giant container vessel MV Ever Given, which hit the eastern bank of the narrow shipping lane last Tuesday and became wedged diagonally across its span for nearly a week.
For the Egyptian crew, the relief was even more palpable. Had the plan failed, the next challenge would have been to start offloading 1,000 containers, according to Mohamed Bahaa, managing director of the Evergreen Line agent in Egypt, the company that operates the ship.
“The decisive moment was yesterday at 3 p.m.,” he said. “I felt relieved as I was very worried about having to resort to lightening the vessel. SMIT said that if Monday’s refloating trial didn’t succeed, we should lighten the vessel and this was not an easy task.”
President El-Sisi had said the country’s reputation was on the line and had been calling regularly during each day for updates, as had other top officials. He said he told Rabie “Egypt is on your neck.”
“The focus now will be on the investigation front, and that’s a big open question,” said, chief executive of I.R. Consilium, a maritime law and security consulting firm that works with governments. “We need to be looking at the full spectrum of possibilities for this case.”
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Trolls attack Egypt's first female sea captain after Suez Canal ship mishap .
Egypt's first female sea captain says she was skewered on social media although she was working on a ship hundreds of miles from the Ever Given.The controversy comes as the canal authority announced that the backup of ships was finally cleared Saturday, 11 days after the Ever Given became wedged across a narrow section of the canal and six days after the ship was freed.