SUEZ, Egypt - Roughly 50 vessels pass through the Suez Canal each day, but that number will be much lower until authorities can dislodge a cargo ship that’s blocking one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
The Ever Given, a Panamanian skyscraper-sized vessel, turned sideways on Tuesday, becoming wedged in the canal. Evergreen Marine Corp., a Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship, told the Associated Press that the ship had been overpowered by strong winds.
All 20 crew members are safe and there have been no reports of injuries or pollution.
The Ever Given, a Panamanian skyscraper-sized vessel, turned sideways on Tuesday, becoming wedged in the Suez Canal. (Credit: Suez Canal Authority via Storyful)
The Suez Canal runs through Egypt’s Sanai Peninsula and is a major source of foreign currency for Egypt. It provides a crucial shipping route that fast tracks shipping between Europe and Asia.
Without it, ships would have to travel around the entire continent of Africa or opt for the Panama Canal in Central America.
Crews are working frantically to clear the blockage. Tugboats are being used to nudge the Ever Given back into alignment. Even so, that process could take two days.
Crews are working frantically to clear the blockage. (Credit: Suez Canal Authority via Storyful)
"The Suez Canal will not spare any efforts to ensure the restoration of navigation and to serve the movement of global trade," said Lt. Gen. Ossama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority.
Meanwhile, 30 boats are waiting at Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, which is about midway through the canal. Roughly 40 vessels are idled in the Mediterranean near Port Said and another 30 are at Suez in the Red Sea.
This story was reported from Atlanta.