Suez Canal Ship Update as Videos Show Ever Given Vessel Freed

The Ever Given, the giant container ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal in Egypt for nearly a week after becoming grounded last Tuesday, has been partially refloated, according to videos shared on social media.

The 200,000 gross tonnage vessel was lodged sideways in the waterway last week while en route to Rotterdam, Netherlands. The ship blocked all traffic across the canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

Evan Hill, a journalist for the Visual Investigations team at The New York Times, tweeted Monday: "The Ever Given is floating," sharing a video of the ship which was first posted by Twitter user @eslamattia88.

"The ship seems excited," Hill wrote in an earlier tweet, sharing another video of the ship which was first posted by Twitter user @IbrahemFthelbab.

Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie told Egyptian state television on Monday: "It is very possible that by today noon shipping activity would resume, god willing. We will not waste one second."

Ever Given's crew of 25 Indian nationals, who remain aboard the ship, were reported to be safe and in good health, according to Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the vessel's technical manager.

Rabie said Monday: "The ship's captain is the one responsible for the vessel at all times."

At least 369 ships are waiting to transit the canal, according to Rabie, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels.

🚨The Ever Given is floating🚨

— Evan Hill (@evanchill) March 29, 2021

Leth Agencies, a canal service provider for the Suez and other waterways, tweeted Monday morning: "As can be seen from AIS [Automatic Identification System], #EVERGIVEN has been partly moved but the bulbus still aground. Meanwhile, both TUG Alp Guard and TUG Carlo Magno have arrived and are working in the area."

"While awaiting further confirmation and updates from SCA [Suez Canal Authority], projections of fully refloating #EVERGIVEN looks promising. The vessels currently waiting in the #SuezCanal area are attentively waiting for updates of possible transit scenario," the company said in a tweet posted about an hour earlier.

The ship seems excited

— Evan Hill (@evanchill) March 29, 2021

Ever Given's status has been changed to "under way" on VesselFinder, a ship tracking website.

"The vessel is en route to the port of Rotterdam, sailing at a speed of 0.1 knots and expected to arrive there on Mar 31, 02:00," according to the website.

As can be seen from AIS, #EVERGIVEN has been partly moved but the bulbus still aground. Meanwhile, both TUG Alp Guard and TUG Carlo Magno have arrived and are working in the area.#SuezCanal

— Leth Agencies (@AgenciesLeth) March 29, 2021

Dredging operations continued Sunday, working with Smit Salvage and the SCA as well as ALP Guard, a specialist tug registered in the Netherlands, according to the latest statement Sunday from BSM.

An additional dredger, the THSD Causeway registered in Cyprus, is also en route to the scene to provide additional dredging capacity. That vessel is expected to arrive by Tuesday, BSM said Sunday.

Peter Berdowski, CEO of Smit Salvage's parent company Boskalis, told Dutch public radio: "We have movement, which is good news. But I wouldn't say it's a piece of cake now."

He noted that if efforts to remove the sand around the ship using high pressure water are unsuccessful, container ships may need to be removed to help free the ship, which could cause a significant delay.

How it started

How its going

We can confirm, we have movement, the #EverGiven has been partially freed, still some work to do though. Stay tuned! #SuezLiveonMT #Suez

— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) March 29, 2021

A source involved in the salvage operation told Reuters on Monday that the ship will be re-ballasted on Monday and expect that with a favorable tide, cargo will not need to be removed.

"The good news is she's moved. But she is still stuck in the mud. A second large anchor-handling tug will arrive this morning. Hopefully they will be able to pull her free," the source said.

BSM stated: "Initial investigations suggest the vessel grounded due to strong wind. There have been no reports of pollution or cargo damage and initial investigations rule out any mechanical or engine failure as a cause of the grounding.

"More information will be provided when there are material developments," BSM said.

The Suez Canal is one of the world's most important trade routes, allowing the passage of around 10 percent of all international maritime trade. Around 19,000 ships passed through the canal in 2020, according to the SCA, which amounts to around 52 each day.

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the number of vessels and the net tonnage transiting the Suez.

Suez Canal transit traffic

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the canal's importance to global oil shipments.

Seaborne oil transit chokepoints 2021
Ever Given ship Suez Canal March 2021
Ever Given, the container ship, seen on March 29 in the Suez Canal in Egypt. Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images