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Suez Canal: Traffic resumes as stranded massive container set free, confirms authority

Suez: In this photo released by Suez Canal Authority, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship is pulled by one of the Suez Canal tugboats, in the Suez Canal, Egypt (AP)Premium
Suez: In this photo released by Suez Canal Authority, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship is pulled by one of the Suez Canal tugboats, in the Suez Canal, Egypt (AP)

  • The vessel is now fully afloat, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement
  • Efforts will now get underway to restart shipping navigation, with more than 450 vessels waiting near the canal

Shipping traffic through Egypt's Suez Canal has resumed after The Ever Given container ship, which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, the canal authority said.

The vessel is now fully afloat, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement. Tug boats hauled the giant vessel away from the side of the waterway, where it had been lodged since last Tuesday.

Efforts will now get underway to restart shipping navigation, with more than 450 vessels waiting near the canal. The backlog has strained global supply chains already stretched by the pandemic as the route is a conduit for about 12% of global trade.

A Reuters witness saw the ship moving and a shipping tracker and Egyptian TV showed it positioned in the centre of the canal.

Brent crude dropped 0.6% to trade at $64.20 a barrel as of 2:16 p.m. in London.

The 400-metre (430-yard) long Ever Given was successfully re-floated at 4.30 am local time (0230 GMT) and was being secured, Inchcape, a global provider of marine services said on Twitter.

Video posted on social media appeared to show the ship's stern had swung around, opening space in the canal. Other footage, which could not be immediately verified by Reuters, included cheering and ships' horns sounding in celebration.

Ship-tracking service VesselFinder has changed the ship's status to under way on its website.

The Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early on Tuesday, halting shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

At least 369 vessels were waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie told Egypt's Extra News on Sunday.

About 15% of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is a key source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt. The current stoppage is costing the canal $14-$15 million a day.

Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after the ship became stranded, and the blockage has disrupted global supply chains, threatening costly delays for companies already dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.

Some shippers had decided to reroute their cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to journeys and extra fuel costs.

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