Plan made to refloat ship blocking Suez Canal using tide

An operation is underway to try to work free the ship
An operation is underway to try to work free the ship (AP)
2:28am, Sat 27 Mar 2021
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The company that owns the giant container ship stuck across the Suez Canal said an attempt will be made to refloat the vessel by taking advantage of tidal movements.

The Ever Given, owned by Japanese firm Shoei Kisen KK, got wedged on Tuesday in a single-lane stretch of the canal, north of the southern entrance near the city of Suez.

Shoei Kisen president Yukito Higaki said 10 tugboats were deployed and workers were dredging the banks and sea floor near the vessel’s bow to try to get it afloat again as the high tide starts to go out.

“We apologise for blocking the traffic and causing the tremendous trouble and worry to many people, including the involved parties,” he told a news conference at the company headquarters in Imabari, western Japan, on Friday.

Shoei Kisen said the company has considered removing its containers to get the weight off the vessel, but it is a very difficult operation.

The company said it may still consider that option if the ongoing refloating efforts fail.

A team from Boskalis, a Dutch firm specialising in salvaging, was working with the canal authority using tugboats and a specialized suction dredger at the port side of the cargo ship’s bow.

An initial investigation showed the vessel ran aground due to strong winds and ruled out mechanical or engine failure, the company said.

The maritime traffic jam grew to more than 200 vessels on Friday outside the Suez Canal and some vessels began changing course. More than 100 ships were still en route to the waterway, according to the data firm Refinitiv.

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