‘She’s free’: Giant ship blocking Suez Canal refloated, shipping traffic resumes

Shipping traffic through Egypt’s Suez Canal has resumed after a giant container ship which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost seven days was refloated, the canal authority said.

The 400-meter (430-yard) long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high breezes 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 center 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 effectively rescues and floats the giant Panamanian container ship EVER GIVEN,” a statement from the SCA said.

“She’s free,” an official involved in the salvage operation said.

After dredging and excavation work over the weekend, rescue workers from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage succeeded in partially refloating her almost immediately Monday using tug boats, two marine and shipping sources said.

Evergreen Line, which is renting the Ever Given, confirmed the ship had been effectively refloated and said it would be repositioned and inspected for seaworthiness.

At least 369 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including many container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, SCA Chairman Osama Rabie said.

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