As is well known, between March 23 and 29, 2021, the Suez Canal was blocked for six days following the grounding of Ever Given, a so-called “Golden class” container vessel.
It is claimed that the 400-metre-long vessel was buffeted by strong winds, and ended up wedging itself across the waterway, bow and stern stuck in the canal bank, preventing other vessels from passing through that part of the Suez Canal.
Egyptian authorities said "there may have been technical or human errors" also involved. The obstruction was south of the section of the canal that has two channels, so there was no way for other ships to bypass Ever Given. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) engaged Boskalis through its subsidiary SMIT Salvage to manage the salvage operations.
The canal is one of the world's busiest trade routes in the world and the obstruction had a significant negative impact on trade between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. On 28 March, at least 369 ships were queuing to pass through the canal. This prevented an estimated $9.6bn worth of trade.
On 29 March, Ever Given was partially re-floated and moved by about 80% in the correct direction, although the bow remained stuck until the ship was finally freed by Egyptian, Dutch, and Italian tugs around mid-day and started moving, under tow, towards the Great Bitter Lake for technical inspection. The canal was checked for damage, and the Canal Authority allowed shipping to resume in the afternoon.
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