After a dramatic week, Ever Given was freed from Suez Canal

Authorities hope the canal would be ready for passage by today, ending the global shipping blockade

Photo: Reuters Stranded ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, is seen after it ran aground, in Suez Canal

A massive container ship that has blocked the Suez Canal since Tuesday has been freed and re-floated, maritime service provider Inchcape Shipping said Monday, as reported by dpa. The high tide overnight which was accompanied by a full moon helped to free the ship, the service provider indicated.

When the Suez Canal will be reopened to traffic, however, was initially not clear. Marine Traffic told CNN, "We can confirm movement of the Ever Given, it appears to be partially refloated, there is still some work to do until its completely freed, but progress has been made." Mohab Mamish, the former head of the Suez Canal and Egyptian Presidential seaport adviser, also told CNN Arabic that the canal is expected to be ready for passage by today, but there is no official confirmation from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), yet.

The Panama-flagged ship, Ever Given, a 224,000-ton vessel almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall, had veered off its course in a single-lane stretch of the canal during a sandstorm on 23 March. Dredgers and tug boats had been working around the clock to free the ginormous vessel, which has disrupted supply chains and sent ripples through global markets.

According to the canal authority, around 370 ships were waiting for passage on both sides of the canal, including 25 oil tankers. Financial news wire Bloomberg reportd there could even be 450 waiting ships. 

The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, provides the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe. Therefore, about 15% of world shipping traffic transits the canal. However, the blockage was costing the canal operator $13m to $14m dollars in losses per day, according to the head of the state Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

Crude oil prices fell after news the ship had been re-floated, with Brent crude down by $1 per barrel to $63.67. Shares of Taiwan-listed Evergreen Marine Corp (2603.TW) - the vessel's lessor - rose 3.3%.

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