There are now at least 237 vessels waiting to transit through the Suez Canal in Egypt, as Thursday’s efforts to move the grounded MV Ever Given proved unsuccessful in an operation experts say now may take days if not weeks.
“Despite continuous and tireless efforts from the Suez Canal authority and staff, MV Ever Given remains grounded,” said Leth Agencies, a transit service provider for ships in the Suez Canal, in a Friday update.
At last count, the agency said 107 vessels are trying to head north from the Red Sea while the other 130, split between Great Bitter Lake and Port Said, are waiting to head south.
The agency also said ships stuck in the single-lane portion of the canal behind the Ever Given were towed back to Suez Port, freeing the lane for the stricken ship to be towed out eventually too.
The news comes amid increasing concern about supply chain and financial impacts, as the shutdown of the critical global trade route begins what will be its fourth day since the MV Ever Given, a 400-meter-long container ship, became wedged in the canal with its bow buried into the eastern wall.
Round-the-clock efforts using tugboats and dredging equipment have failed to free the Ever Given, while experts arriving from Norway and beyond say it may take weeks to resolve.
The Panamanian-flagged ship, operated by Evergreen, was heading from China to the European port of Rotterdam. It left Egypt’s Suez Port (Port Tawfiq) late Monday night.
There is not yet an official cause for the accident though Egyptian sources say a sandstorm with high winds contributed to the navigational failure.
Image: Suez Canal Authority