Evergreen Line announced that the 20,000 TEU-class container vessel that has blocked the Suez Canal the past days, has been successfully refloated — paving the way for transits in one of the busiest waterways to resume.
EVER GIVEN, currently leased under a time charter agreement, ran aground and became lodged sideways across the southern entry of the canal on March 23 as gusting winds reportedly caused the container ship to deviate from its course.
The ship was deployed on the China-Rotterdam service route.
"Evergreen Line is pleased to confirm that EVER GIVEN has been successfully refloated within the Suez Canal at approximately 15:00 March 29 local time," the Taiwanese transport company said in a statement.
The liner said in order for the Canal to resume normal operation, the vessel is leaving the grounding site with the assistance of tugboats.
"The chartered vessel will be repositioned to the Great Bitter Lake in the Canal for an inspection of its seaworthiness. The outcome of that inspection will determine whether the ship can resume its scheduled service. Once the inspection is finalized, decisions will be made regarding arrangements for cargo currently on board," it added.
Evergreen thanked the Suez Canal Authority and all the concerned parties for their assistance through what it described as a "difficult and unfortunate situation" and those who worked to relentless efforts over the past 6 days to refloat the vessel.
"Evergreen will coordinate with the shipowner to deal with subsequent matters after the shipowner and other concerned parties complete investigation reports into the incident," the Taiwanese liner added.
Suez Canal Authority says navigation to resume 'immediately'
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) also confirmed the development with Admiral Osama Rabie, chairman and managing director at the SCA saying the container ship has been successfully refloated.
He then assured that operations at the major waterway would resume immediately after authorities imposed a temporary suspension of navigation through the Suez Canal last March 25.
"This was the result of successful push and tow manoeuvres which led to the restoration of 80% of the vessel’s direction; with the stern 102 metres away from the bank of the Canal now instead of 4 metres prior to the refloating," the Admiral said.
"Maneuvers are set to be resumed once more during high tide at 11:30 a.m.; as it shall reach 2 metres, allowing for the full restoration of the vessel's direction so it is positioned in the middle of the navigable waterway," he added.
Lloyd's List said separately that vessels impacted were holding up an estimated US$9.6billion in freight along the waterway each day — which equates to US$400million and 3.3 million tonnes of cargo an hour.
German insurer Allianz said on Friday that based on its analysis, the Suez Canal blockage could cost global trade between US$6billion to US$10billion per week and a reduced annual trade growth by 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points.