By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus – A 200,000 metric-ton container ship, named the Ever Given, has failed to be dislodged after it blocked the Suez Canal on Tuesday 23rd March, this week. Tugs and diggers have in vain tried to dislodge the massive container ship, increasing chances of it staying there on the world’s most important waterway.
The ship is measured to be about a quarter mile long (400 meters) and weighs in at 200,000 metric tons.
As it is, an elite salvage squad, which is due to arrive today, Thursday 25th March, is expected to work on getting the Ever Given from the bank of the canal where it is blocking ocean-going carriers that range from oil to consumers goods ships.
However, given the circumstances, it is expected that freeing the ship will not happen till Sunday or Monday, according to Nick Sloane, the salvage master responsible for refloating the Costa Concordia - a cruise ship that capsized on the coast of Italy in 2012. Sloane operates as the Senior Salvage Master for Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Resolve Marine Group.
Besides, about 12% of global trade goes through the canal, which makes the Suez so strategic in that world powers have even fought over it since its completion in 1869.
“The Suez Canal blockage comes at a particularly unhelpful time,” said Greg Knowler, European editor at JOC Group, which is part of HIS Markit Ltd.
“Even a two-day delay would further add to the supply chain disruption slowing down the delivery of cargo to businesses across the U.K AND Europe.”
According to Bloomberg, a rough estimate shows that the blockage is costing about $400 million an hour based on calculations from Lloyd’s List which indicates westbound traffic to be worth $5.1 billion a day and eastbound traffic being approximately $4.5 billion.
As of Wednesday, between 165-185 vessels were waiting to cross the canal. It should be noted that the 120-mile-long waterway which connects the Mediterranean in the North with the Red Sea in the South, is narrow, being less than 675 feet wide (205 meters) in some places.