Suez Canal: ss Ever Given blockage may be result of ‘human errors’

The saga of the ss Ever Given is a worldwide story.  Deutsche Welle provides more details on the ongoing struggle to free the containership from its embedded position in the middle of the Suez Canal.

The Deutsche Welle article contains interesting video reports.

The German media has a much greater interest in reporting this story. Much of the traffic which passes through the Suez Canal is headed for European ports such as Hamburg and Rotterdam.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 3.27.2021

Egypt’s Suez Canal chief says strong winds and weather weren’t the main reasons the ship ran aground. The Ever Given has been wedged across the canal since Tuesday, blocking the way for other maritime traffic.

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The head of Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority, Osama Rabie, said Saturday that “technical or human errors” may be to blame for the grounding of a giant container ship in the crucial waterway.

Authorities are working to free the vessel, named the Ever Given, which has been wedged diagonally across the span of the canal since Tuesday, blocking the shipping route in both directions.

Rabie told reporters that the ship could possibly be refloated by Sunday evening.

Officials previously said strong gusts and a sandstorm had caused the ship to run aground. But Rabie said “weather factors were not the main reasons for the ship’s grounding.”

“There may have been technical or human errors.”

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The blockage has caused a huge traffic jam of more than 300 ships along the 193-kilometer (120-mile) canal, and caused major delays in the delivery of oil and other products. Some companies have even been forced to consider re-routing vessels around the southern tip of Africa.

The parent company of Dutch firm Smit Salvage, which is in charge of the salvage operation, said the ship would only likely be afloat again “at the start of next week.”

Crews have been working 24/7 with large dredging machines under floodlights in an attempt to free the ship, which is about the size of the Empire State Building in New York.

Dredgers have so far removed more than 20,000 tons of sand from around the ship’s bow, while 14 heavy tugs have been brought in to assist.

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Credit…Sima Diab for The New York Times