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Authorities investigate how container ship became stuck in Suez Canal

By Don Johnson
Authorities investigate how container ship became stuck in Suez Canal
The Panama-flagged Ever Given is pulled by tugboats in the Suez Canal in Egypt on Monday after the vessel was freed from a bank in the waterway. Photo by Suez Canal Authority Office/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- Authorities began working Tuesday to determine how the Ever Given container ship became stuck in the Suez Canal, a day after the large vessel was freed from its frozen position near the shoreline and traffic resumed through one of the world's most vital commercial waterways.

The massive container ship was wedged into the Suez Canal's bank for almost a week, costing companies billions of dollars each day. The 224,000-ton ship crashed into the bank during a sandstorm on March 23, and was finally freed by crews on Monday.

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Experts inspected the ship on Tuesday for any damage and investigators began looking into what caused the Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, to run aground.

About 37 vessels delayed by the blockage passed through the canal Monday night and about 70 more were estimated to clear the canal by the end of Tuesday.

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

A backlog of hundreds of ships are waiting to enter the canal and authorities hope they can pass through this week. The disruption to the world's supply chain may take months to resolve, experts predict.

Shipping agent GAC said last week the Ever Given was carrying goods from China to the Netherlands when it became stuck. The ship is owned by a Japanese firm and operated by a Taiwanese shipper.

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With the blockage, ships were forced to take an alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope, an additional 3,100 miles. The Suez Canal is the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe and connects the Mediterranean and Red seas.

RELATED Officials preparing to remove cargo from ship blocking Suez Canal

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited the canal on Tuesday, a spokesman said in a Facebook post.

RELATED Suez Canal blockage could be eased by favorable tides: officials

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