The container ship Ever Given, stranded in the Suez Canal, has shut off traffic on one of the world’s busiest waterways. As a result, world oil supplies were under threat – dozens of ships with fuel were forced to look for workarounds and would no longer be able to reach ports at the scheduled time.
On the evening of March 23, one of the world’s largest container ships, Ever Given (400 m long, 59 m wide), Evergreen accidentally ran aground after deviating from a course due to a sudden strong wind, Bloomberg reported.
The incident took place in the south of the Suez Canal – a container ship turned 90 degrees completely blocked it, leaving no other ships the slightest chance to go further. The ship was sailing from China to the Netherlands under the Panamanian flag and arrived in a European country on 31 March.
To establish the incident’s reasons, an urgently formed technical committee has already been sent, and excavators are working on the shore near the place of emergency, the Cairo24 edition reported. However, the operation to remove Ever Given from the shallows could take about two more days. The tugs have already tried several times to pull the ship out, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
The result was a traffic jam of dozens of cargo ships following their usual route along with one of the most important shipping lines. The Financial Times estimated that ships congregated at the northern and southern entrances to the Suez Canal just hours after the incident, carrying about 10 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products. To relieve traffic, the Suez Canal administration opened the old sections, sending those ships that could go there, bypassing the traffic jam. But many courts are still forced to wait for a solution to the problem.
Experts expressed concern that further blocking of ships could disrupt the global energy supply chain.
According to experts, now charterers and ship owners are actually in a stalemate – a route bypassing Africa will take much longer and cost more than a couple of days of downtime. However, even these days promise them big losses.
This threatens a short-term jump in world oil prices and changes in transport tariffs in the long term.