A giant container ship the length of four football fields has become wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal, blocking traffic in one of the world’s busiest trade routes. Dozens of vessels are stuck, waiting for rescue boats to free the 1,312 foot ship, which was knocked off course by strong winds on Tuesday at 07:40 local time.
As a reference, about 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. On average, nearly 50 vessels pass through the canal per day.
Currently, there are approximately 100 ships stuck at each end of the canal. Tug boats are working to refloat the ship, and diggers on the ground have been removing sand from where it is wedged into the side of the canal bank.
Dr Sal Mercogliano, a maritime historian said, ” this could have huge ramifications for global trade. This is the largest vessel ever to go aground in the Suez Canal. If they are unable to pull her free, they are going to start removing cargo”.
If the ship is not freed within a few days, it would add an additional burden onto a global shipping industry already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, delays, shortages of goods and higher prices.
Here is the USA, we hope to not be burdened significantly by this as Transpacific vessels to the USA typically move via the Panama Canal rather than the Suez.
We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you informed.
As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.