Is the ship still stuck in the Suez Canal?

The stranded Ever Given mega-container in the Suez Canal

The stranded Ever Given mega-container in the Suez Canal

Leth Agencies, a ship and offshore agency in Egypt, said in an update Friday that about "10 tugboats and two dredger vessels are involved in the operation, working around the clock to refloat the vessel".

"With the Suez Canal set to remain blocked for at least another day or two, shipping companies are being forced to confront the spectre of taking the far longer route around the Cape of Good Hope to get to Europe or the east coast of North America", said Lloyd's List, a shipping data and news company.

Nearly 19,000 ships passed through the canal in 2020, according to the Suez Canal Authority and there are now 156 vessels waiting in the area to pass through.

The ship's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, said it apologizes "for causing a great deal of concern to the vessels scheduled to sail ... and all parties affected by this accident".

The traffic-jam will have severe repercussions on global trade, bringing 13% of the world's trade to a halt. The closure also could affect oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Mideast.

Experts have said it is not uncommon for ships to enter into seemingly complicated holding patterns as they wait to take their place in the queue of ships inside the busy and narrow canal.

Internationally, many are getting ready for the effect that the shipping pause will have on supply chains that rely on precise deliveries of goods. Singapore's Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung said the country's port should expect disruptions.

"Should that happen, some draw down on inventories will become necessary", he said in a Facebook post.

Analysts have warned that the ongoing blockage in the Suez Canal is likely to have significant repercussions for global supply chains, which have already been under strain since the outbreak COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Japanese owner of the ship recently apologised and said dislodging the Ever Given was proving extremely hard.

As of Friday morning, the vessel remained grounded in the same position, with tugboats and dredgers still working to free it, according to Canal service provider Leth Agencies.

Elsewhere, the Ningbo Containerized Freight Index (NCFI) commentary reported that space from Asia to Europe was again "becoming tight", suggesting that spot rates would have risen next week regardless of the Suez Canal crisis.

"Dredging works are carried out in accordance with the highest standards of navigational safety via maintaining a safe and permitted distance about 10 meters away from the ship".

Earlier this month, Turkey said it had resumed contacts with Egypt. Ties have been frosty since Egypt's army toppled a Muslim Brotherhood president close to President Tayyip Erdogan in 2013.

"When a vessel runs aground Suez Canal officials are alone empowered to order and direct all operations required to get the vessel afloat", according to the Suez Canal Authority Rules of Navigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to journalists.

Satellite and photos distributed by the canal's authority show Ever Given's bow touching the eastern wall, while its stern appeared lodged against the western wall.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the technical manager of the Evergreen Marine vessel, said Friday a team from Smit Salvage was at the scene of the grounding to work with the SCA.

In the case of the Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal, there has been a flood of conjecture, lampoons and memes.

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