With more powerful tugboats to help, Egyptian authorities said they would focus on trying again Monday evening to remove from the Suez Canal one of the world’s largest container ships, which has blocked the key shipping trade route for nearly a week. The canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, will experience a high tide then. Diggers worked Sunday night into Monday morning to remove part of the canal’s bank to help free the giant container ship, the Ever Given. Dredging continued as well with Reuters reporting that a rock may be under the ship’s bow. So far, 27,000 cubic meters of sand and mud have been removed from around the ship.
Since it created a diagonal block across the canal, the 400-meter Ever Given has been the focus of international attention as salvage teams alternate between tugging the ship and dredging the area around it.
But patience for freeing the vessel may be running out. With more than 360 ships waiting to enter the canal, which handles around 10% of international maritime trade, Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered preparations to begin to remove some of the 18,300 containers from the vessel.On Sunday, Leth Agencies, the maritime service provider, tweeted the operation was postponed until sufficient “tug power” was in place.Egypt is eager to resume traffic along the Suez Canal, which brings in between $5 billion and $6 billion in revenue each year. According to a study by German insurer Allianz, each day of the blockage in the canal could cost global trade between $6 billion and $10 billion. Hundreds of Ships Wait as Suez Canal Remains Blocked’The longer this goes on, the longer the canal will not be available for vessels related to world security,’ one expert notesSeveral countries, including the U.S. and Russia, have offered Egypt help. There have already been consequences from the blockage. Syria on Saturday said it had started rationing fuels as it awaited the delivery of oil cargo. Also affected are 11 ships from Romania carrying 130,000 sheep. Some maritime firms have decided to divert ships through the Cape of Good Hope, around the African continent.