Suez Canal - Ever Given container ship blockage
Shipping traffic through Egypt’s Suez Canal resumed on 29 March 2021 after a giant container ship that had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated, the canal authority said. The 400-meter-long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. Live footage on a local television station showed the ship surrounded by tug boats moving slowly in the centre of the canal. The station, ExtraNews, said the ship was moving at a speed of 1.5 knots. “Admiral Osama Rabie, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announces the resumption of maritime traffic in the Suez Canal after the Authority successfully rescues and floats the giant Panamanian container ship EVER GIVEN,” a statement from the SCA said.
At least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels. Rabie told Egyptian state television it could take from two-and-a-half to three days to clear the backlog, and a canal source said more than 100 ships would be able to enter the channel daily. Shipping group Maersk said the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel.
A cargo container ship among the largest in the world turned sideways and blocked all traffic in Egypt’s Suez Canal, pushing oil prices up 5% in markets in New York and threatening to disrupt a global shipping system already strained by the coronavirus pandemic. The MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged container ship that carries trade between Asia and Europe, became grounded 23 Marach 2021 in the narrow, man-made waterway dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the Ever Given to turn sideways in the canal. GAC, a global shipping and logistics company, described the Ever Given as suffering “a blackout while transiting in a northerly direction", without elaborating. Evergreen Marine Corp., a major Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship, said in a statement provided to The Associated Press that the Ever Given had been overcome by strong winds as it entered the Suez Canal from the Red Sea but none of its containers had sunk.
Engine failure and heavy weather have both been cited as reasons behind Ever Given's grounding in the Suez Canal. Winds were not the main factor and human or technical error may have played a role. The event of blackout or any other breakdown repeatedly denied by ship’s management. With so many containers stacked on her upper deck, with her flat sides so high above water, she’s effectively one big floating sail, experiencing tremendous wind pressure.
Shearing caused by the proximity of a vessel to a bank is a well known phenomenon that navigators and pilots should generally be aware of. Indeed, the annals of maritime law are replete with instances of what is referred to as bank sheer or suction. A ship will be set off the nearer bank when proceeding along a straight, narrow channel, especially if the draft of the ship is nearly equal to the depth of the water. This effect is particularly noticeable in narrow reaches with steep banks such as certain sections of the Panama Canal and is called bank cushion. As the ship moves ahead, the wedge of water between the bow and the nearer bank builds up higher than that on the other side, and the bow is forced out sharply. The unbalanced pressure of water on the ship's quarter lower the level of the water between the ship's quarter and the near bank and force the stern toward the bank. This is called bank suction. This phenomenon is known by several names, including bank suction, bank cushion, stern suction, and ship-bank interaction. The combined effect of bank cushion and bank suction may cause the ship to take a sudden and decided sheer toward the opposite bank. Both are strong when the bank of the channel is steep.
The only general rule that can be laid down is that it should be foreseen and avoided. It is well established that a pilot is expected to know channel conditions and be prepared to avoid or compensate for bank suction and resulting sheer. A pilot is selected for his personal knowledge of the topography through which he steers his vessel. A pilot is held to a very high standard of care.
Efforts to free the beached container vessel stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal entered a third day on Thursday. The Ever Given ran aground diagonally across the canal during a dust storm on 23 March 2021, blocking traffic in both directions, and there are now fears the vessel could cause serious delays to shipping around the world, with dozens of ships already backed up at either side of the waterway. The costs of the blockage of the Suez Canal continue to pile up, as more than 150 ships were waiting to use the waterway early on 25 March 2021. The ship's Japanese owners apologised to those affected by the delays, while the canal operator renewed efforts to move the vessel. At 11:43 pm on March 24th, local time in Egypt, the "Hesse-1" satellite gave full play to its advantages in all-day and all-weather rapid response and captured the Taiwanese container ship EVER GIVEN still stuck in the Suez Canal. It can be clearly seen from the SAR remote sensing image results of the "Haisi-1" satellite that, affected by the accident of the container ship EVER GIVEN in Taiwan, China, a large number of other shipping ships in the anchorage are queuing to pass through the canal.
Capella’s #SAR constellation captured the Ever Given container ship blocking the Suez Canal with very high resolution 50 cm imagery as of 9:36am local Egyptian time. The image features a SAR artifact called layover. The image places returns based on distance to the satellite. Tall objects are closer and appear in the same place as the ground that is closer, so it looks like they’re laying over on the ground. The SAR shows individual containers on the Evergreen vessel. Imagery from planetlabs at 0530UTC the morning of 25th March showed earthwork around the bow of the EVER GIVEN in the Suez Canal. Run off earth can be seen in the waters from the ongoing work.
An attempt to refloat a megaship blocking Egypt's Suez Canal failed 26 March 2021, the vessel's managers said, as the crisis forced companies to re-route services from the vital shipping lane around Africa. "Another attempt to refloat the vessel earlier today... was not successful," the Singapore-based Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) said in a statement. BSM said "the focus is now on dredging to remove sand and mud from around the port side of the vessel's bow". It said Smit Salvage, a Dutch firm that has worked on some of the most famous wrecks of recent years, confirmed there would be "two additional tugs" arriving by Sunday to assist. "Arrangements are also being made for high-capacity pumps to reduce the water levels in the forward void space of the vessel and the bow thruster room," BSM added.
Russian cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov on late Saturday shared footage of what appears to be a profound nightmare for world shipping logistics: the Suez Canal/Ever Given incident. What makes his photos outstanding and unique is that they were taken from the International Space Station (ISS). "One of the most discussed news is the incident in the #SuezCanal", Kud-Sverchkov captioned his tweet 27 March 2021. "One of the world's largest container ships #EverGiven has blocked one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Specialists are making every effort to restore shipping." One of the pictures embraces the entire Suez Canal - one of the world's two most important commercial waterways, with other pictures showing the gigantic Ever Given ship damming it. One can also spot crews of cranes trying to refloat the vessel on the waterway.
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