Massive ship blocks Suez Canal causing world's largest shipping jamLast updated on Mar 25, 2021, 03:30 pm
A massive container ship stuck in the Suez Canal has caused a massive jam, bringing the busy trade route to a halt.
The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas through Egypt.
Dredgers are still trying to loosen the vessel, which had run aground and gotten wedged into the canal.
Owners and insurers of the ship face claims totaling millions of dollars.
What is the Suez Canal?
The Suez Canal is an artificial waterway that was built in 1869.
It is now among the world's busiest shipping lanes and carries more than 12% of the world trade by volume.
The canal provides a major shortcut for ships moving between Europe and Asia.
Before the canal was constructed, ships had to sail around Africa to travel between Europe and Asia.
How did the canal get blocked?
Ever Given, a Panama-registered container ship, was traveling to Rotterdam in the Netherlands from China.
While passing the canal, the 400-m long and 59-m wide ship got wedged in due to a mishap caused by bad weather.
Evergreen Marine—a Taiwanese transport company operating the ship—said it suspected that the ship had gotten hit by a sudden strong wind, causing the hull to deviate.
Vessels queue up as canal remains blocked
Since the canal is blocked, the movement of over 100 ships has been obstructed, leading to a long queue of vessels waiting to cross the passageway.
Egypt is now diverting ships to an older channel to minimize disruption to global trade. Notably, the nation relies heavily on revenues from the canal.
Reportedly, Ever Given is the largest vessel to run aground in the canal.
What are the authorities doing?
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is making attempts to refloat the ship using rescue and tug units.
Separately, diggers are also trying to free the ship from the canal's bank.
However, according to experts, the process could take several days and the alternative route around Africa is a week slower.
Such delay could reportedly cause a shortage of container vessels and boxes.