Suez Canal shipping backlog ends, days after giant vessel freed


All ships stranded by the grounding of the giant container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal in March had passed through the canal by Saturday, ending the backlog that built up during the blockage, the canal authority said.

The last 61 ships, out of 422 ships that were queuing when the vessel was dislodged on Monday, passed through the vital trade artery on Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said.

International supply chains were thrown into disarray when the 400-metre-long (430-yard) Ever Given ran aground in the canal on March 23, with specialist rescue teams taking almost a week to free her after extensive dredging and repeated tugging operations.

In total, 85 ships had been due to pass through the canal on Saturday including 24 ships that arrived after Ever Given was dislodged, the SCA said.

An SCA investigation began on Wednesday into what caused the vessel to run aground in the canal and block the waterway for six days, the canal authority’s chairman, Osama Rabie, told the MBC Masr private TV late on Friday.

“The investigation is going well and will take two more days, then we will announce the results,” he added.

After the massive container ship got stuck and blocked in the Suez Canal, the owners of the Ever Given have issued a claim against the ship’s operators, The Lawyer reported Thursday.

The limitation of liability claim was filed in the High Court in London, The Lawyer reported, and makes reference to “the grounding of the M/V ‘EVER GIVEN’ along the Suez Canal, Egypt on 23 March 2021.”

According to the lawsuit, the two defendants listed in the case are the Evergreen Marine Corp and “all other persons claiming or being entitled to claim damages.”

The Ever Given is co-owned by Luster Maritime and Higaki Sangyo Kaisha, two companies based in Japan.

It is being leased by Evergreen Marine Corp., a Taiwanese container-transportation company.

The ship made headlines on March 23 after an unexpected dust and wind storm swept through the region, which caused the massive container vessel to veer off course and become beached.

The dayslong ordeal temporarily slowed commerce from the canal, which facilitates 12% of the world’s trade every year.

A fleet of tugboats and a dredger successfully freed the ship on March 29, nearly a week after it got stuck.

According to The New York Times, a full moon produced a “king tide” that allowed for a few extra inches of tidal flow to help refloat the Ever Given.

The Ever Given prevented more than $50 billion in global trade after it blocked the Suez Canal for six days, according to Lloyd’s List. Toilet paper, coffee, and furniture are among the products most affected by the Ever Given.

Ikea, an international furniture company, said it had more than 100 containers on board the Ever Given and expected supply-chain delays from the crisis.—Reuters