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She's Free: Cargo Ship Is Unstuck From Suez Canal

Ever Given is being pulled toward a lake in the Suez Canal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2021 8:32 AM CDT
Updated Mar 29, 2021 8:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – The stuck ship is stuck no more. Salvage teams on Monday set free a colossal container ship that has halted global trade through the Suez Canal, a canal services firm said, bringing an end to a crisis that for nearly a week clogged one of the world’s most vital maritime arteries. Helped by the peak of high tide, a flotilla of tugboats managed to wrench the bulbous bow of the skyscraper-sized Ever Given from the canal’s sandy bank, where it had been firmly lodged since last Tuesday, per the AP. After hauling the fully laden 220,000-ton vessel over the canal bank, the salvage team was pulling the vessel toward the Great Bitter Lake, a wide stretch of water halfway between the north and south end of the canal, where the ship will undergo technical inspection, canal authorities said.

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Satellite data from MarineTraffic.com confirmed that the ship was moving away from the shoreline toward the center of the artery. The obstruction has created a massive traffic jam in the vital passage, holding up $9 billion each day in global trade and straining supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic. It remained unclear when traffic through the canal would return to normal. At least 367 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, have piled up on either end of the canal, waiting to pass. Data firm Refinitiv estimated it could take more than 10 days to clear the backlog of ships. Meanwhile, dozens of vessels have opted for the alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip—a 3,100-mile detour that adds some two weeks to journeys and costs ships hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other costs. (Read more Suez canal stories.)

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