Salvage teams on March 29 finally freed the colossal container ship stuck for nearly a week in Egypt’s Suez Canal, ending a crisis that had clogged one of the world’s most vital waterways and halted billions of dollars a day in maritime commerce.
A flotilla of tugboats, helped by the tides, wrenched the bulbous bow of the Ever Given from the canal’s sandy bank, where it had been firmly lodged since March 23.
The tugs blared their horns in jubilation as they guided the Ever Given through the water after days of futility.
“We pulled it off!” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, the salvage firm hired to extract the Ever Given. “I am excited to announce that our team of experts, working in close collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority, successfully refloated the Ever Given … thereby making free passage through the Suez Canal possible again.”
At least 113 of over 420 vessels that had waited for Ever Given to be freed were expected to cross the canal by the morning of March 30, Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority, said.
At least 367 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, had backed up to wait to traverse the canal. Dozens of others have taken the long, alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip ―― a 5,000-kilometer detour that costs ships hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other costs. (AP)