Egypt: Suez Canal Backup Could Clear in About 4 Days

The giant container ship Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal on March 23, 2021. The image on the left, captured on March 21, shows routine maritime traffic in the canal with vessels visible every 2 to 3 km. The image on the right, captured on 25 March, shows the 400 m-ship blocking the canal. Ships can be seen accumulating in the Gulf of Suez. The canal connects Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Egyptian city of Suez on the Red Sea.

Officials said Tuesday the backlog of ships trying to pass through the Suez Canal could take about four days to work through, following nearly a week in which the vital waterway was blocked by a massive container ship.

The assessment came from both the Suez Canal Authority and the U.N. Conference on Trade Development.

Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie said about 140 ships were expected to pass through the canal on Tuesday.

The 400-meter-long ship, Ever Given, was freed Monday after days of work involving digging along the canal bank and a group of tugboats pulling on the ship. It was jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds on March 23, halting shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

Once moving again, the ship moved into the Great Bitter Lake to undergo inspections for any damage and for investigators to try to determine why it ran aground.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said Tuesday that while the incident was an unwanted event, it was dealt with effectively and reaffirmed the importance of the Suez Canal.

The canal brings in between $5 billion and $6 billion in revenue each year.

Some maritime firms responded to the delays by deciding to divert ships around the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern tip of the African continent.

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