03/29/2021, 11.46
EGYPT - M. EAST
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Suez: Evergreen cleared, canal to be reopened

The container ship is again a float thanks to a high tide and the excavation of the embankments in recent days. The goal is to open a space in the canal to facilitate the transit of other vehicles. At least 400 ships have been blocked in recent days. During the operations, dozens of tugs and dredgers were mobilized to vacuum the sand.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Evergreen container ship was freed this morning after blocking the Suez Canal paralyzing maritime traffic and causing daily damage for billions to world trade since last March 23.

After days of frenetic digging away at the embankments, the ship is again a float thanks to a high tide, which allowed it to be moved, bringing it back to a position almost parallel to the canal.

In recent days, several tow ships have flanked the stranded boat on both sides, trying to widen the banks of the canal using excavators. Later, the operators used large ropes to pull the craft aft and bow, with the aim of making it rotate as necessary to free it. An operation complicated by the weight of the freight it sis carrying which exceeds 200 thousand tons.

Some videos posted on social networks in recent hours seem to show the stern beginning to sway and move away from the western shore and opening a space in the channel to allow the transit of other ships. Marine services company Inchcape also reported that the vessel was released.

The ship transports goods from Asia to Europe, along one of the most used trade routes in the world, to the port of Rotterdam.  Built in 2018, the MV Ever Given is one of the largest cargo ships in the world and can carry up to 20,000 containers at a time. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg agency, using data published by Lloyd's List, estimates the damage caused by the accident at the Suez Canal at 9.6 billion dollars a day, although experts clarify that these are "crude" calculations and the amount it could be even greater.

The blockade of the ship forced the other boats to circumnavigate Africa, with an enormous expenditure of time - at least two more weeks of navigation - and of money. Through the channel, built over 150 years ago and 193 km long, the shortest way to reach the Mediterranean from the Red Sea, approximately 12% of global trade travels and is a major source of income for Egypt.

Among the repercussions of these days, the doubling of the costs of maritime oil shipments. In total, nearly 400 ships remained stuck at the ends and centre of the canal. During the operations, at least a dozen tugs and dredgers were mobilized to suck the sand from under the ship.

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