Suez Canal crisis – live: Ever Given ship ‘partially refloated’ at high tide but still stuck sideways

Ships anchored in Suez as cargo ship remains stuck

Tugboats and salvage crews took advantage of high tides in the early hours of Monday morning to partially refloat the colossal container ship Ever Given, which carries cargo between Asia and Europe and has been stuck sideways in the Suez Canal since Tuesday.

However teams working to free the vessel said it remained stuck for now and it was unclear how long it would take to fully reopen the canal even after moving the ship, which has been lodged in a single-lane stretch blocking traffic through the critical trade gateway.

The partial freeing of the vessel came after intensive efforts to shift the vessel using 10 tugboats when the full moon brought spring tide, raising the canal’s water level.

Earlier, it was feared the Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned ship might be stuck for weeks. Economists say the Ever Given’s disruption of shipping through the Suez Canal probably won’t have an impact on global trade for more than a few weeks.

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Renewed salvage attempt on Monday morning

The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Lt Gen Osama Rabei, has said fresh attempts at freeing the bow of the ship will take place on Monday morning when high tide returns.

When high tide returns at 11.30am local time (10.30am BST) on Monday, salvage crews will resume their attempts to pull the ship into the middle of the waterway and toward the Great Bitter Lake, a wide stretch of water halfway between the north and south end of the canal, where it will undergo technical examination, he said. 

Tom Batchelor29 March 2021 09:02


Two additional tugs arrive at Ever Given site

Two additional tugs which had been making their way to the site have now arrived, according to Leth Agencies.

The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard, a specialist tugboat, arrived at the location on Sunday, according to the stuck ship’s technical management company, Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement.

The Italian-flagged tug Carlo Magno arrived on Monday.

A satellite image also shows the new position of the Ever Given.

Tom Batchelor29 March 2021 08:42


Ship blocked waterway for nearly a week

The stern of the ship now appears to have moved into the centre of the canal, freeing a narrow gap. For six days, it has entirely blocked the important trading passage through Egypt, which shaves weeks of journey times between Asia and Europe.

Here is how it looked before tugboats partially refloated it overnight.

Satellite imagery released by Maxar Technologies shows the Ever Given on the morning of 28 March

Satellite imagery released by Maxar Technologies shows the Ever Given on the morning of 28 March

(Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Tech/AFP via Getty Images)

Tom Batchelor29 March 2021 08:21


Video shows Ever Given’s new position

Unverified video shared on social media appears to show the stricken Ever Given ship in its new position, still with its bow stuck but with the stern of the ship having swung round into the centre of the waterway allowing smaller vessels to pass through.

The clip showed several tugboats hugging the side of the ship.

The vessel remains vulnerable to damage in its current position but Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, the company that owns the Ever Given, has dismissed concerns, saying that the ship’s engine was functional and it could pursue its trip normally when freed. 

Tom Batchelor29 March 2021 08:01


Ship ‘partially refloated’

Overnight, salvage teams have managed to partially refloat the vessel with 10 tugboats making use of the high, spring tide.

However, challenges remain as satellite data from shows the ship in the same position, surrounded by the tugs and with its bow still wedged in the canal’s eastern bank. 

A pilot with the canal authority confirmed that the ship had been partially refloated and said that workers were still struggling to dislodge the bow. 

Lt Gen Osama Rabei, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, said workers continued “pulling maneuvers” to refloat the vessel early on Monday. 

Several dredgers have already vacuumed up 27,000 cubic metres of sand and mud around the ship. Another powerful tugboat, Carlo Magno, is racing to the scene to join the efforts. 

Tom Batchelor29 March 2021 07:45


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the crisis in the Suez Canal.

Tom Batchelor29 March 2021 07:37



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