Cairo: The stern and rudder of the giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal are finally making some movements, however, it is still not clear when the vessel will re-float, the head of the canal authority revealed on Saturday.
The 430 yard (400 metre) long “Ever Given” wedged diagonally across a southern section of the Suez Canal due to high winds early on March 23, blocking one of the busiest waterways in the world.
Numerous combination of dredging material from around the vessel and after a lot of pushing and pulling with tugboats made minor progress in dislodging the ship on Saturday, two SCA sources said.
One more source said that there had also been some movement at the bow of the ship.
Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie, was quoted by local news outlets, said that water had started running underneath the ship. “We expect that at any time the ship could slide and move from the spot it is in,” he told a press conference earlier.
“The ship’s stern began (on Friday) to move towards Suez, and that was a positive sign until 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) at night, but the tide fell significantly and we stopped,” Rabie told journalists in Suez.
Approximately 15% of world shipping traffic transits the canal. As per officials reports from Saturday, 321 ships are currently waiting to pass through.
“At the moment, 321 ships are waiting for their turn to pass through the Suez Canal due to the situation,” Rabie told at a press conference.
The incident has been caused by a variety of factors, rather than simply a human error, Rabie said. He added that the efforts to refloat the stuck “megaship” were running around the clock, without a break.
In total, 10 tugboats are involved in the operation. The situation, he noted, is complicated by the size of the ship and the number of containers aboard.
The operation is showing encouraging results, but it is premature to speak about when it ends, according to Rabie. Media earlier reported that Ever Given may be refloated on Saturday.