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three questions about the Ever Given grounding

DECRYPTIONWhen will the Suez Canal be passable again? The container ship Ever Given, more than 200,000 tons and 400 meters long, has been frozen across the canal since Tuesday and authorities are not sure when it can be released. The investigation aimed at understanding the reasons for the sinking now evokes a possible “human error”. Europe 1 takes stock of this stranding which has penalized world trade for five days.

What caused the Ever Given to fail?

Since the grounding of the container ship Ever Given, the accident was attributed to strong gusts of wind coupled with a sandstorm. If these were able to play, the Egyptian authorities now believe that “other errors, human or technical, may also have come into play”, according to Ossama Rabie, the head of the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority (SCA) .

When can the boat leave?

Attempts follow one another to refloat the ship but the means available seem frail next to this giant of 200,000 tons. A backhoe loader was first used in an attempt to clear the hull, but to no avail. Since Friday, dredges have started to suck the sand under the boat. Since Saturday they have been accompanied by tugs but the freighter remains stuck in the bank.

The owner of the container ship is still hoping for a release on Saturday evening. The company mandated to reopen the Suez Canal evokes a refloating at the beginning of next week. Two additional tugs are due to arrive on site in the next few hours. Sunday will be a crucial day as high tide is forecast, which could help towing according to the SCA. If the operation fails, the ship will have to be lightened by removing containers and potentially waiting for the next high tide, which should not take place for two weeks.

What economic consequences?

Due to the strategic position of the Suez Canal, its blockage represents a high economic cost. It usually sees 10% of world maritime trade pass. Its forced shutdown costs around 340 million euros per hour, or 8.1 billion euros per day of blocked goods, according to the specialist magazine Lloyd’s. Nearly 19,000 ships used the canal in 2020, according to SCA, an average of 51.5 ships per day.

The blockage causes significant delays in deliveries of oil and other products, with a knock-on effect on the price of black gold, which rose on Friday. Some 300 boats are currently stuck at both ends of the canal, according to Ossama Rabie. He also estimated that Egypt was losing $ 12 to $ 14 million for each day the canal was closed.

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