Middle East Resources

An Update on the Suez Canal Accident

Bassam Michael Madany

5 April 2021

On Tuesday, the 23rd of March 2021, the Japanese-owned Ever Given giant container ship, got stranded sideways in the Suez Canal. That caused a traffic jam of cargo ships waiting to make it through, on both sides of the waterway. The Suez Canal Authority did it utmost to refloat the ship. On Monday, the 29th of March, the 3,700-ton Rotterdam-based Alp Guard and nine other tugboats, took up positions around the hull of the ship.

Engineers worked hard throughout the day and managed to dislodge the Ever Given, thanks to the high tide making their job easier. Tugboats helped pull the vessel out from the side of the canal where it had been stuck, before straightening its heading. Then it was towed to anchor at the Great Bitter Lake in the Canal, to allow an inspection of its seaworthiness.

What a happy ending to a drama that had kept the world on edge for one long week! The canal usually allows 50 cargo ships to pass daily between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, providing a vital trade corridor between Europe and Asia. Had the blockage dragged on, shippers would have been forced to reroute their ships around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, adding about two weeks and extra fuel costs to journeys.