Egypt's Suez Canal: Skyscraper-sized cargo ship blocking more than 150 vessels
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It’s not only has had a knock-on effect on bouncing oil prices but 150 other boats are waiting idly for the wedged ship – called Ever Given - to be moved.
No 10 has said it is ready to provide “any assistance” it can to help as some goods bound for the UK might be delayed in transit.
The ship's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, has now offered a written apology to all the ships trying to travel through the canal and says it is “working hard” to resolve the situation.The Suez closure could affect oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Middle East, which rely on the canal to avoid sailing around Africa.
Shipping journal Lloyd's List estimated that each day the canal is closed disrupts £6.6 billion of goods that should be passing through the waterway.
A quarter of Suez Canal traffic comes from container ships like the Ever Given, the journal said.
How did the Ever Given get stuck?
The Ever Given – which measures a quarter of a mile long - was ran aground on Tuesday.
It is still wedged in the man-made 120 mile long canal, which divides continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula.
Egyptian forecasters said high winds and a sandstorm plagued the area on Tuesday, with winds gusting as high as 30mph.
An initial report suggested the ship suffered a power blackout before the incident, something Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement denied on Thursday.
"Initial investigations rule out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding," the company said.
How will authorities move the ship?
Tugboats were called upon on Thursday morning (March 25) and “partially refloated” the cargoship but the high tides are yet to push the container vessel aside.
So far, dredgers have tried to clear silt around the massive ship. From the shore, at least one excavator dug into the canal's sandy banks, suggesting the bow of the ship had ploughed into it.
Canal service provider Leth Agencies said 150 ships and the Ever Given will be reversed south to Port Suez to free the channel.
Are the crew okay?
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the company that manages the Ever Given, said the ship's 25-member crew were safe and accounted for.
The ship had two pilots from Egypt's canal authority aboard to guide it when the grounding happened at around 7.45am on Tuesday, the company said.
Is the UK going to help?
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: "We are working with the authorities to assess the situation, we stand ready to provide any assistance that we can.
"We have not been approached by any UK companies or organisations with concerns about implications for their shipping plans.
"However, some goods destined for the UK may be delayed in transit."