The Big Boat Is Still Stuck

Illustration for article titled The Big Boat Is Still Stuck
Photo: AP (AP)
BoatlopnikBecause boats are cars too

There were reports Wednesday that the big boat that is stuck in the Suez Canal was partially free, but that was later called inaccurate; the big boat is still stuck for now.

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Authorities so far have tried to free the ship with tugboats, though that has failed. Now, Reuters reports that there is some digging going on around the ship’s bow, while the Wall Street Journal says still other measures might have to be taken.

From The Wall Street Journal:

“There’s been some movement over the past two hours,” said Ionut Basiu, a Romanian radio operator aboard an Asian oil tanker stuck in the canal. “The chat on the radio is that the big container ship is being refloated and will be pushed alongside the bank so others can get through.” But Mr. Basiu cautioned it could take many hours until other ships could pass.

If the operation doesn’t work, then “the ship must get partly unloaded so it becomes lighter,” said Fotis Pagoulatos, an Athens-based naval architect, who has participated in past salvage operations. “This could take days.”

Meanwhile, the Suez Canal Authority, an Egypt-owned authority that operates the canal, posted a video (below) to Facebook, which is made somewhat intense by the soundtrack. The overall message seems to be that the Suez Canal Authority is ON IT, as Google translates the video’s caption as:

Lieutenant General Osama Rabie, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, follows up the rescue work and the floatation procedures of the giant Panamanian container ship EVER GIVEN, which ran aground at 151 km, numbering the canal, while crossing the Suez Canal within the southern convoy on its journey coming from China and bound for Rotterdam.

At least 100 ships are waiting to pass through the canal, while nearly 20,000 ships passed through the canal in 2020, generating $5.6 billion in revenue for Egypt, meaning that Egypt has as much incentive as anyone to get the ship free and get things moving again.

This has also been a good reminder that world markets are one stuck ship away from partial meltdown.

From The Guardian:

Analysts predicted disruptions in traffic even if the Ever Given was freed imminently. “When the blockage is cleared, ships will race to make up for the lost time and that could be an issue for the arrival ports,” said Peter Sand, the chief shipping analyst with Bimco, an international association for shipowners.

Ranjith Raja, of the financial data firm Refinitiv, said: “We’ve never seen anything like this before but it’s likely that resulting congestion will take several days to weeks to clear. It is expected to have a ripple effect on the other convoys, schedules and global markets.”

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This has been your big boat update.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

DISCUSSION

The analyst says he’s never seen anything like this before?

You can tell he’s young. The Suez Canal was completely closed to all traffic between 1967 and 1975.

I appreciate the disruption this is causing and its affect on the global economy, but there is precedent. It’s not the imminent disaster he implies it to be.