The Suez Canal was blocked after the failure of one of the world’s largest container ships, cutting off a vital trade artery and delaying shipments of goods and cargo.
The Ever Given container ship, which is almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall, was shown on Tuesday morning on satellite ship-tracking services to have stuck horizontally at the southern end of the canal, with tugs engaged in a frantic effort. to free it.
We didn’t know what made Ever Given fail. But the blockage caused a rapid build-up of ships behind the ship. The container ship is operated by Evergreen Marine, based in Taiwan.
Every day, around 50 ships sail the 120-mile Suez Canal, which was built between 1859 and 1869 to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and Asia.
Samir Madani of TankerTrackers said that within hours of the blockade, around 10 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products receded near the northern and southern entrances to the canals.
Apart from crude from the Middle East to markets in Europe and North America, the canal has in recent years become an important transit route for oil flowing from Russia to Asia.
“The canal is a key choke point for global trade,” Madani said. “If they can free the ship quickly then the impact will be minimized, but any prolonged blockage would have serious consequences, ranging from affecting oil prices and shipping rates to forcing container ships to take the route.” much longer around Africa.
Total oil flows through the canal and its associated Sumed pipeline network accounted for nearly 10% of the oil traded by sea globally in 2018, according to the US Energy Information Administration. About 8 percent of the liquefied natural gas trade also passed through the channel that year, according to the EIA.
The Panamanian-flagged vessel Ever Given, which launched in 2018, is just under 400m long and 59m wide and was on its way to Rotterdam, according to the Vessel Traffic Tracking website.
Calls to the Suez Canal Authority in Egypt went unanswered outside of normal business hours on Tuesday.
A photo of the ship posted to Instagram by a sailor believed to be aboard the ship behind the Ever Given showed the fully loaded ship blocking the entire channel. A digger on the east side of the canal was photographed attempting to free the vessel.
Julianne Cona, who posted the photo, is listed on LinkedIn as New York’s second assistant engineer.
“The ship in front of us ran aground crossing the canal and is now stuck on its side,” Cona wrote. “Looks like we could be here for a little while. . . “