Suez Canal blocked by massive container ship
One of the largest cargo container ships in the world has turned sideways and blocked all traffic in Egypt’s Suez Canal, 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 on Tuesday in the man-made waterway dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula.
Evergreen Marine Corp., a major Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship, said in a statement 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.
As maritime authorities in Egypt had to reopen an older section of the Suez Canal to divert traffic after the Ever Given blocked it in both directions, an expert said that the incident is a reminder of the vulnerability of the passage.
“This is a major strategic waterway, a choking point, so a lot of ships go through it and if something happens it can be very disruptive for shipping and the global community to get goods from one another,” Gerry Northwood, Chairman of the risk and security management company MAST, told Al Jazeera.
Such an incident, Northwood explained, it’s “a bit of a warning .. of a reminder” of the vulnerability of the canal and its potential for global disruption.
“If you end up having to revert to using the longer route then you will get two to three weeks of disruption to world trade whilst it tries to sort itself out, plus the added expenses of the longer journey,” he said.