Crews free stuck container ship in Egypt's Suez Canal after nearly a week

Egyptian men looks at the Ever Given container ship after being fully dislodged from the banks of the Suez Canal in Egypt on Monday. Photo by Karem Ahmed/ UPI
1 of 5 | Egyptian men looks at the Ever Given container ship after being fully dislodged from the banks of the Suez Canal in Egypt on Monday. Photo by Karem Ahmed/ UPI | License Photo

March 29 (UPI) -- Work crews have successfully refloated the jammed container ship in Egypt's Suez Canal, one of the world's most vital trade waterways, the canal's service provider said Monday.

The Suez Canal Authority said the 200,000-ton, 1,300-foot Ever Given cargo ship was freed from the shoreline in the canal after nearly a week. The Ever Given is one of the largest cargo ships in the world.


The SCA told CNN the Ever Given had been fully dislodged and images posted online showed the vessel on the move.

"This was the result of successful push and tow maneuvers which led to the restoration," the SCA said in a statement.

Leth Agencies, the Suez Canal's service provider, said the vessel has been escorted to Great Bitter Lake and that transit has resumed.

The ship became stuck in the canal during a sandstorm last Tuesday when it drifted into shallow waters and ran aground. Crews have been trying to free the vessel since.

The SCA said earlier Monday that the beached vessel had been partially refloated.


Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said crews were performing "tugging maneuvers" with 10 giant tug boats to free the grounded ship, which has close to 20,000 cargo containers on board.

Peter Berdowski, chief executive officer of Boskalis, a salvage company hired to help with the extraction, celebrated the vessel's re-floating in a statement, saying "we pulled it off!"

"The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented," he said.

The blocked canal, which provides vital shipping access between the Mediterranean and Red seas, has led to some supply chain issues for products worldwide -- including Brent crude oil.

Authorities said earlier that the canal would be reopened to traffic once the Ever Given was fully floated and towed to another part of the canal for inspection.

"Today, Egyptians have succeeded in ending the crisis of the delinquent ship on the Suez Canal despite the massive technical complexity surrounding this process on every side," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi said early Monday in a statement posted to his Facebook page.

"Egyptians have proven today that they are always as responsible. I thank every sincere Egyptian who contributed technically and practically to ending this crisis."


The canal's operator, which is owned by the Egyptian government, earlier posted a video to its Facebook page that showed crews dredging and performing other salvage work to free the vessel.

Almost 400 vessels were awaiting transit through the canal, officials said.

Leth Agencies said at least 43 southbound vessels had resumed transit and were expected to exit the canal at 8:30 p.m. local time.

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