Tugs work to free giant ship stuck in Suez
Eight tug boats are attempting to free a 400m-long container ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal, blocking vessels passing through one of the world's most important waterways.
The 224,000-tonne Ever Given was stranded on Tuesday morning after losing the ability to steer amid high winds and a dust storm, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement.
The authority said it was sparing no effort to ensure regular navigation through the canal, but it was unclear how soon the vessel would be free.
Sources said delays to shipping were expected. The Ever Given is one of the largest container ships in the world.
About 12 per cent of world trade by volume passes through the canal connecting Europe and Asia. The canal remains a major source of hard currency for Egypt.
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the ship's technical manager, said an investigation was underway.
Taiwan's Evergreen Marine Corp, which is leasing the vessel under a time charter, said the shipowner had informed the company that the ship "was suspected of being hit by a sudden strong wind, causing the hull to deviate from waterway and accidentally hit the bottom and run aground".
The ship is 59m wide and can carry up to 20,000 shipping containers.
BSM said all the crew are safe and accounted for and there have been no reports of injuries or pollution.
A growing number of tankers have gathered near the entrance to the canal, waiting to pass through.
During 2020, nearly 19,000 ships, or an average of 51.5 ships per day, with a net tonnage of 1.17 billion tonnes passed through the canal, according to the SCA.
The impact on oil and gas flows will depend on how long it takes to clear the container ship, the sources said.