Rescue teams in the Suez Canal continued the efforts of dredging and towing, yesterday, to float a huge container ship blocking the congested waterway, but two sources said that the efforts were complicated by a rocky mass below the bow of the ship, while the Suez Canal Authority said, in a statement, that the dredges had lifted until yesterday about 27 One thousand cubic meters of sand up to a depth of 18 meters. The dredging and tensioning work with locomotives will continue around the clock, according to tidal conditions and wind direction.
The head of the authority, Osama Rabie, said in televised statements that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had ordered preparations for the scenario of unloading some of the ship’s cargo to help it float. The giant ship carries 18,300 containers, with a total tonnage of 224,000 tons.
Reuters quoted two sources in the authority as saying that a rock mass was found at the bottom of the bow of the ship, which may complicate the rescue efforts.
The stranded ship, whose length is 400 meters, was suspended in a southern section of the canal more than five days ago amid strong winds, which disrupted global shipping traffic in one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. Rabei said that at least 369 ships, tankers and containers were waiting. Crossing the canal, including dozens of containers, bulk cargo ships, and LNG or LPG tankers.
Rabei indicated that the authority is looking into giving the ships affected by the disruption of navigation in the canal some cuts, expressing his belief that the investigations will show that the canal was not responsible for the delinquency of the ship.
Rescue workers for the authority and a team from the Dutch company Smit Salvage are looking into whether there is a need to remove some of the containers «Ever Giffen», one of the largest container ships in the world, using a crane so that it can be floated, and experts have warned that such a process will be complicated and lengthy. Rabie said, however, that he hopes that this will not be necessary, but if it turns out to be necessary, Egypt will request international assistance to implement this strategy.
Rabei confirmed that a “response” had occurred in attempts to move the delinquent ship in the Suez Canal, and explained that many countries had already offered to provide aid, and that it would be used if the authority had to resort to the third scenario of reducing the load, explaining that the exact causes of the accident would become clear after the investigations. .
About 15% of global freight traffic passes through the Suez Canal, which is a major source of hard currency for Egypt.
Rabei said in a press conference, the day before yesterday, that bad weather was not the main reason for the ship’s stranding, indicating the possibility of a technical or human error, and he said: “The wind and dust storm were not the main reason for the ship’s stranding, but this is what is in our hand. Now, and it may be a technical error or a personal error, all of this will appear in the investigations. ”Rabei explained that the canal is losing between 13 and 14 million dollars in daily revenues after the traffic stopped.
The freight rates of oil product tankers almost doubled after the ship stranded, and the impact of the canal closure on global supply chains, threatening to create costly delays for companies already suffering due to the restrictions of “Covid-19”.
Yesterday, the Russian ambassador in Cairo, Georgy Borisenko, offered his country any possible assistance to Egypt, and said: “We hope to overcome this crisis in the near future and restore work in the canal naturally. We are ready to provide our Egyptian friends with any possible assistance from our side. ”
He added that Cairo did not request assistance from Moscow, but said that Russia “sympathizes with what is currently happening in the Suez Canal,” which he described as “an important waterway for the whole world.”
• Al-Sisi asked to prepare for the scenario of unloading some of the ship’s cargo to help it float.
Dredgers lifted about 27,000 cubic meters of sand until yesterday, to a depth of 18 meters.
• At least 369 ships, tankers and containers are waiting to cross the canal.
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