The Suez Canal diverts ships to the old canal after a huge container ship ran aground

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© Reuters. The container ship runs aground in the Suez Canal and blocks traffic

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By Yusri Mohamed, Jessica Jaganathan and Florence Tan

CAIRO (Reuters) – Ships in the Suez Canal were diverted to an older canal on Wednesday after a large container ship ran aground blocking ships sailing through one of the world’s most important waterways.

About 12% of world trade in volume terms is crossed by the canal between Europe and Asia, and the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) remains an important hard currency source for Egypt.

On Tuesday around 05:40 GMT, one of the largest container ships in the world – the 200,000-ton Ever Given – ran aground in the canal, said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), said the ship’s technical manager. BSM said when the investigation was underway.

Sources said the mishap was due to bad weather. The operation to swim and free the ship began on Wednesday morning. Some shipping delays are to be expected.

Vessel tracking data on Refinitiv Eikon showed that seven tugs came to the aid of the ship in Rotterdam, which were not yet grounded in the tracking charts. It was unclear when the ship would be free.

GRAPHIC: Earthed container ship “Ever Given” throttles one of the most important shipping lanes in the world – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/qzjpqldqovx/EverGivenShippingJam.png

The ship is 400 m long and 59 m wide and can carry up to 20,000 shipping containers with an equivalent of 20 feet (TEU).

Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine Corp, which is leasing the ship on a time charter basis, said the shipowner told the company that the ship “was suspected of being hit by a sudden high wind, causing the hull to deviate from the waterway and accidentally hit the ground and hit. ” stranded “.

BSM, which handles the ship’s crew and engineering issues, said all crew are safe and responsible, and there have been no reports of injuries or pollution.

BSM has notified the authorities and “interested parties” but has not been able to confirm who owns the vessel.

“All parties are currently investigating the cause of the grounding and it would be wrong to speculate about any particular cause at this point,” BSM said in an email to Reuters.

The port agent GAC announced on its website on Wednesday that 15 more ships in the convoy heading north were being held at anchorages behind the Ever Given waiting for the canal to be cleared. A convoy going south was also blocked.

GRAPHIC: Earthed container ship “Ever Given” causes massive congestion in the Suez Canal – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/xlbvgxmropq/EvergivenShipJam.png

SHIPPING DELAYS

A growing number of tankers have gathered near the canal entrance, waiting to get through.

Container trade flows between Asia and Europe pick up again after the New Year celebrations, so a longer blockage would have serious consequences as the alternative route via the Cape Route will be a week slower, said Tan Hua Joo, a consultant at Liner Research.

Delays will exacerbate the shortage of container ships and crates as 30% of global container ship capacity passes through the Suez, according to Liner Research Services.

In 2020, according to SCA, nearly 19,000 ships, or an average of 51.5 ships per day with a net tonnage of 1.17 billion tons, passed the canal.

The impact on oil and gas flows depends on how long it takes to evacuate the container ship.

According to the data intelligence company Kpler, five loaded liquid tankers (LNG) could not pass the canal until Wednesday due to the grounded container ship. Of the five, three were destined for Asia and two for Europe, said Kpler analyst Rebecca Chia.

She said if the congestion continues until the end of this week, it will affect the transit of 15 LNG tankers.

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