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Officials preparing to remove cargo from ship blocking Suez Canal

Officials preparing to remove cargo from ship blocking Suez Canal
Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said Sunday that officials in Egypt are preparing to potentially remove cargo from the Ever Given as efforts continue to remove the 1,300-foot ship that ran aground on Tuesday, blocking the Suez Canal. Photo via Suez Canal Authority/UPI | License Photo

March 28 (UPI) -- Officials began preparing to unload cargo from the Ever Given after the massive cargo ship has remained lodged in the Suez Canal since Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, told Egyptian media that President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi had ordered officials to prepare for a "third scenario" of removing containers from the 1,300-foot, 200,000-ton ship to allow it to be refloated.

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Rabie said that the president authorized the acquisition of special equipment necessary to move some of the 18,000 containers from the vessel.

Leth Agencies, the canal's service provider, wrote on Twitter that tidal conditions did not help refloat the ship overnight, adding that a refloating effort on Sunday was postponed until 11 p.m. local time in order to make the most of the "favorable tidal conditions."

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Two additional tugboats arrived in the canal on Sunday to work alongside the 11 already making efforts to dislodge the ship.

About 27,000 cubic feet of sand have been removed from around the vessel to a depth of nearly 60 feet.

Six more ships also arrived in the canal Sunday, bringing the total number of vessels stranded by the blockage to 327.

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Danish shipping company Maersk said Sunday it had redirected some of its vessels to keep cargo moving.

"We have until now redirected 15 vessels where we deemed the delay of sailing around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa equal to the current delay of sailing to Suez and queueing," the company said.

Syria on Saturday announced it had begun to ration oil supplies including diesel and gasoline due to the blockage.

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