Massive Traffic Jam Builds Up at Suez Canal

Vital waterway is still blocked by cargo ship
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2021 5:07 AM CDT
Updated Mar 25, 2021 6:38 AM CDT
Massive Traffic Jam Builds Up at Suez Canal
In this satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. the cargo ship MV Ever Given sits wedged in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Thursday, March 25, 2021.   (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

A skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt's Suez Canal further imperiled global shipping Thursday as at least 150 other vessels needing to pass through the crucial waterway idled waiting for the obstruction to clear, authorities said. The Ever Given, a Panama-flagged ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, ran aground Tuesday in the narrow, man-made canal dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. In the time since, efforts to free the ship using dredgers, digging, and the aid of high tides have yet to push the container vessel aside—affecting billions of dollars' worth of cargo. In a sign of the global turmoil the blockage has caused, the ship's Japanese owner offered a written apology Thursday for the incident, the AP reports.

"We are determined to keep on working hard to resolve this situation as soon as possible," Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. said. "We would like to apologize to all parties affected by this incident, including the ships travelling and planning to travel through Suez Canal." Evergreen Marine Corp said the Ever Given, one of the world's largest cargo ships, was overcome by strong winds as it entered the canal. Canal service provider Leth Agencies said at least 150 ships are waiting for the Ever Given to be cleared, including vessels near Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea, Port Suez on the Red Sea, and those already stuck in the canal system on Egypt's Great Bitter Lake. Shipping journal Lloyd's List estimates each day the Suez Canal is closed disrupts over $9 billion worth of goods.

(Read more Suez canal stories.)

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