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Stuck Ship Moves 100 Feet

With tides rising, crews hope to free Ever Given on Sunday
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2021 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – With a full moon helping to lift tides, crews were digging in Sunday, determined to free the huge cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal before the end of the weekend. Several developments made them hopeful, the New York Times reports. Salvage crews got the ship to move about 100 feet late Saturday, setting off a cacophony of tugboat horns in celebration. The ship's rudder is now free. Water is flowing under the Ever Given, which became lodged in Egypt's canal on Tuesday, blocking ship traffic. Two more tugboats are on the way to help, for a total of 13. "We expect that at any time the ship could slide and move from the spot it is in," the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority said. "Sunday is very critical," a pilot with the canal authority said, per USA Today. "It will determine the next step, which highly likely involves at least the partial offloading of the vessel."

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The project is multipronged. Dredgers were digging around the ship's bow. Water was being pumped from the ballast tanks to reduce the weight. Tugboats were pushing and pulling around the clock. Cranes on land are clearing mounds of dirt. A team including naval architects was making a computer model to help crews avoid damaging the ship. Divers haven't found any damage yet, but the ship is sagging in the middle, and low tides raise fears of cracks. Monday could turn out to be a better bet for dislodging the Ever Given: A spring tide will raise the water level in the canal by as much as 18 inches. Monday also is about the last chance to avoid major disruption to global supply chains, shipping analysts said. Some ships caught in the traffic jam have made U-turns, though they'll lose weeks by going around the southern tip of Africa. (Read more Suez canal stories.)

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