What will it take to get a giant cargo ship unstuck from the Suez Canal?
Tugboats, excavators, and cranes all may be enlisted to help the Ever Given.
AARIAN MARSHALL, WIRED.COM – 3/27/2021, 6:30 AM
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It might be there a while. It’s not easy to unstick a gigantic shipping vessel, experts say. The Suez Canal Authority, the Egypt-owned body that owns and operates the canal, has not yet said when it expects traffic to resume.
Meanwhile, at least 34 ships carrying 379,000 20-foot containers of stuff couldn’t move through the canal in either direction as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the logistics software company Project44. “It’s a pretty major deal” for global trade, says Henry Byers, a maritime and global trade analyst at the logistics data company FreightWaves.
It’s very unusual—even unheard of—for ships to get wedged in the Suez Canal like this, says Captain Morgan McManus, who is the master of the training ship at State University of New York Maritime College and has traveled through the canal at least half a dozen times. In the rare event that a ship loses power or control in the canal, it gets laid on the sandy bank, where it’s inspected or repaired. In the meantime, other, smaller ships might be able to pass by.
BSM, the ship’s technical manager, said Wednesday “strong winds” had pushed the ship perpendicular to the canal’s banks, with the towering stacks of containers on board acting as a giant sail. Official reports outlining the causes of the incident likely won’t be available for weeks, perhaps even a year, but BSM says no one was hurt.
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When I hear “unusual” or “unheard of”, I think “cut bono”.
It would seem that if someone wanted to corner the market on something like the “ginger” it’s carrying, staging an accident like this could lead to the desired result.
Just asking the question.