Suez Canal Ship Swings Back Across Channel in High Winds as Ever Given Refloated

The Ever Given, the giant container which was partially refloated Monday morning after being lodged sideways in the Suez Canal in Egypt for nearly a week, was swung back to its previous position due to strong winds before it was freed on Monday afternoon.

According to a Reuters witness and a canal source, the ship was switched back to its previous position ahead of another attempt to fully refloat it. The source said the vessel's bow was afloat in the water, despite the change in position, and did not become grounded again.

In a statement Monday afternoon, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the ship's technical manager, confirmed "the vessel was safely re-floated at approximately 1500 local time on 29 March, 2021.

"EVER GIVEN will now to head to the Great Bitter Lake where she will undergo a full inspection," the statement said.

Ever Given's status is currently listed as "under way" on VesselFinder, a ship tracking website.

"The vessel is en route to the port of Rotterdam [in the Netherlands], and expected to arrive there on Mar 31, 02:00," according to the website.

It is with utmost pleasure that we can confirm that the #Suez Canal Authority and staff have succeeded in re-floating M/V EVER GIVEN. She is currently underway to Great Bitter Lake. More information will follow on our profile. M/V EVER GIVEN is no longer #grounded pic.twitter.com/jLjkeXAu4m

— Leth Agencies (@AgenciesLeth) March 29, 2021

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

BSM said: "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."

The ship's crew of 25 Indian nationals, who remained aboard the ship, were reported to be safe and in good health, according to BSM's latest statement Sunday evening.

On Monday morning, at least 369 ships were reported to be waiting to transit the canal, according to Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie. This included dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels.

The latest incident saw many container ships change course to avoid delays, according to a map tweeted early Monday by Marine Traffic, a provider of ship tracking and maritime intelligence based on real-time data, which showed "diverted fleet going around the Cape."

"The #EverGiven incident has led to many containerships changing course to avoid delays at the #Suez Canal. MarineTraffic #AIS data shows the diverted containership fleet including some MSC, Maersk & CMA-CGM vessels until earlier this morning," Marine Traffic tweeted earlier on Monday before the vessel was freed.

Diverted fleet going around the Cape

The #EverGiven incident has led to many containerships changing course to avoid delays at the #Suez Canal.
MarineTraffic #AIS data shows the diverted containership fleet including some MSC, Maersk & CMA-CGM vessels until earlier this morning. pic.twitter.com/FLIAsewXh5

— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) March 29, 2021

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 last year, according to the Suez Canal Authority, which amounts to around 52 each day.

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

Suez Canal transit traffic
STATISTA

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the world's largest container shipping companies by fleet size.

world's largest container ship companies
STATISTA
Ever Given containership Suez Canal March 2021
The container ship Ever Given pictured at the Suez Canal in Egypt on March 29. Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images