Salvage crews free containership from Suez Canal

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(ISMAILIA, Egypt) — Shipping was on the move again late on Monday in Egypt’s Suez Canal after a containership which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, with more than 400 ships waiting to pass through, Reuters reported.

After the 1,312-foot Ever Given was dislodged, 113 ships were expected to transit the canal in both directions by early Tuesday morning, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie told reporters. He said 422 vessels were waiting in line.

Ever Given had become jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia, in high winds early on March 23.

“The ship came out intact and it has no problems. We’ve just searched the bottom and soil of the Suez Canal and thankfully it is sound and has no issues, and ships will pass through it today,” Rabie earlier told Nile TV.

At dawn on Monday, rescue workers from the SCA working with a team from Dutch firm SMIT Salvage partially refloated the ship and straightened it in the canal. After several hours it shifted briefly back across the canal before being maneuvered free by tugs as the tide changed, a canal source said.

Evergreen Line, which is leasing Ever Given, said the ship would be inspected for seaworthiness in the Great Bitter Lake, which separates two sections of the canal.

Earlier report:

(PAPENDRECHT, Netherlands and SUEZ CANAL) — Boskalis on Monday announced the successful salvage operation of the grounded 20,000-TEU containership Ever Given in the Suez Canal. With a length of 1,312 feet and a width of nearly 200 feet, the ship had been wedged in this vital shipping route since March 23, blocking all shipping traffic in the canal.

“Shortly following the grounding of the Ever Given, we were requested through SMIT Salvage to provide assistance with the salvage operation,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis. “I am excited to announce that our team of experts, working in close collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority, successfully refloated the Ever Given on March 29 at 15:05 hours local time, thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again. I’m extremely proud of the outstanding job done by the team on site as well as the many SMIT Salvage and Boskalis colleagues back home to complete this challenging operation under the watchful eye of the world. The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented and the result is a true display of our unique capabilities as a dredging and marine services provider.”

For the refloating of the 224,000-ton containership, approximately 30,000 cubic meters of sand was dredged to help free the vessel and a total of 11 harbor tugs and two powerful seagoing tugs (Alp Guard and Carlo Magna) were deployed. The vessel is being towed to a location outside the channel (Bitter Lakes) for further inspection.

– Boskalis

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Boskalis photo
By Professional Mariner Staff