Navigation in the Suez Canal was paralysed after a giant cargo ship run aground in the south of the canal. The giant ship hit the bottom of the new branch of the Suez Canal on Tuesday, as a result of “lack of visibility because of the bad weather and sandstorms Egypt suffers,” according to a statement from the Suez Canal Authority.
Navigation paralysis led to overcrowding of over 15 ships in the waterway waiting for the refloating of the stranded ship. The canal’s authority announced it was converging navigation to the main lane. “Navigation [will move to] the main canal while efforts are exerted to save and float the stranded ship,” said the authority’s statement.
According to the statement, rescue operations are ongoing with eight tugboats being used to refloat the cargo ship, which is 400 metres high and 59 metres wide. Ever Given, carrying a 224-thousand-tonne-cargo, was destined to Rotterdam coming from China. Reuters reported that the ship has now been partially refloated.
Lieutenant General Osama Rabee’, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said that Egyptian authorities are now discussing paying indemnity to the waiting ships. The news raised surprise in Egypt as the incident was not disclosed until after 24 hours, when international news agencies reported it amid silence from Egypt’s media and the canal’s authority.