Traffic in Suez Canal resumes

Shipping traffic through Egypt’s Suez Canal resumed on Monday after a giant container ship which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, the canal authority said cited by Reuters.

“Admiral Osama Rabie, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announces the resumption of maritime traffic in the Suez Canal after the Authority successfully rescues and floats the giant Panamanian container ship Ever Given,” a statement from the SCA said. Live footage on a local television station showed the ship surrounded by tug boats moving slowly in the centre of the canal. “She’s free,” an official involved in the salvage operation said.

The 400-metre long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

After dredging and excavation work over the weekend, rescue workers from the SCA and a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage had succeeded in partially refloating the ship earlier on Monday using tug boats, two marine and shipping sources said. Evergreen Line, which is leasing the Ever Given, confirmed the ship had been successfully refloated and said it would be repositioned and inspected for seaworthiness.

At least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, the SCA’s Rabie said. The authority said earlier it would be able to accelerate convoys through the canal once the Ever Given was freed. “We will not waste one second,” Rabie told Egyptian state television.

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