Shipping traffic through Egypt’s Suez Canal has resumed after a giant container ship which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, the canal authority said.
The 400-metre (430-yard) long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
“She’s free,” an official involved in the salvage operation said.
After dredging and excavation work over the weekend, rescue workers from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage succeeded in partially refloating her early on Monday using tug boats, two marine and shipping sources said.
Efforts to completely free her continued throughout the day.
At least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said.
The SCA has said it can accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given is freed. “We will not waste one second,” Rabie told Egyptian state television.
He said it could take from two-and-a-half to three days to clear the backlog, and the canal source said more than 100 ships would be able to enter the channel daily. Shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel.