A huge cargo ship named Ever Given from the company Evergreen has blocked the Suez Canal accidentally due to a powerful sandstorm on 23rd of March and is still not rescued, blocking the most busiest sea route of the world
Introduction to Suez Canal
Suez Canal is present in Egypt. It is an artificial sea-level Canal constructed within 10 years by the Suez Canal Company. Meanwhile, Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea through the Isthmus(neck) of Suez. It was officially opened on 17th November 1869.
This canal saves a lot of time and fuel by giving the shortest possible route between the North Atlantic and the north Indian seas. It reduces up to 8900 kilometers of the journey around the African continent, which is up to 8 to 10 days. About 12% of world trade depends on Suez Canal
The current condition of the Suez Canal
On Tuesday,23rd of March 2021, due to a powerful sandstorm, a cargo ship called Ever Given, operating under the Evergreen company, which was almost 2,000,000 metric ton weight, blocked the Suez Canal, one of the busiest and most sought options for trade in the eastern world, which will cause a loss of up to 6 to 10 billion dollars for every week it is struck. This is considered the world’s heaviest traffic jam at present. The Ever-given ship can be described as “the lying skyscraper” because of its huge length of 440 meters and breadth of 59 meters.
Consequences after the Suez Canal blockage
- More than 200 ships are stuck on both sides of the Ever-Given cargo ship that has blocked the Suez Canal.
- Egypt has opened the Suez Canal’s older channel to divert the traffic temporarily.
- The oil prices are at the risk of hike globally.
Methods tried for the recovery of Ever-Given cargo ship.
Using tugs and support vessels around the ship
Tugs (small and powerful towing boats) are placed on both sides of the cargo ship. They are trying to move the ship away from the sandbanks. But due to its struck firmly in the mud, all efforts have failed by the tugs.
Dredging means digging out sand and mud from under the ship and allowing the ship to float. The Boskalis company from Netherland is taking care of this process.
Lightening the load
Another option is to lighten the ship by removing cargo and other utilities such as fuel and water from the ship. But unloading a 2000000 metric ton weight ship will a very tedious process. Especially while unloading the ship may miss its balance and the worst case is that due to imbalance the ship may break into two.
Impact on Indian Economy
India tops 1st in the import of crude oil from the Gulf countries through the Suez Canal. More than two-thirds of India’s crude oil comes through this canal. Hence as large as the delay there is a high risk of an increase in petroleum products price in India.
Experts say that even with the combination of all the above three processes for the recovery, it might take even weeks to resolve the current situation.
Ever-Given was recovered
On the contrary, on 29th of March, the ship Ever Given was moved 80 percent away from the canals’ neck where it blocked. The Egyptian, Italian and Dutch tugs played a major role. The ship was completely freed and was checked for damage. After checking for damage the ship was allowed to move from that place.
Authored by Indhirani K
Featured image credit: bbc