Refloating the Suez Canal Could Take Weeks: ‘Very Heavy Whale on the Beach’| NOW

Refloating one of the world’s largest container ships in the Suez Canal could take days or even weeks, according to Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski in an interview with News Hour. A team from the Dutch dredging company arrived in Egypt on Thursday morning to assist with the operation. Boskalis is the only company globally requested to help refloat the ship.

Due to our global reach, people can quickly find us for salvage operations,” said a company spokesperson. Berdowski explained that his team would first assess the ship’s condition. “They will board the ship themselves,” he stated.

They will also gather as much technical information as possible, including satellite data. This information will help them devise strategies to free the ship. Berdowski emphasized the challenge ahead.

The ship is, metaphorically speaking, a very heavy whale on the beach,” he said, referring to the twenty thousand fully loaded containers on board. The ship’s bow is at least one meter deep in the sand, creating an enormous weight on the sandbank.

To lighten the load, some of the ship’s weight can be removed. This includes pumping out water and oil and offloading containers. Afterward, dredging can begin to free the ship from the bottom.

“But the more securely the ship is stuck, the longer the operation will take. It could take days to weeks. We also need to bring in all the necessary equipment, which isn’t readily available nearby,” Berdowski noted.

The process of lightening the ship’s load and carefully dredging around it will take time, potentially stretching over days or even weeks. Despite the difficulties, the coordinated efforts and strategic planning by Boskalis offer hope for a successful resolution, eventually allowing the vital shipping route to reopen and restore the flow of global trade.