The grounding and re-floating of the giant Ever Given Ship container in the Suez Canal - as it happened

Ahram Online , Tuesday 30 Mar 2021

In a Facebook post on Monday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi thanked Egyptians who contributed technically and practically to ending the Ever Given crisis in Suez Canal

Ever Given
In this photo released by Suez Canal Authority, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship is accompanied by Suez Canal tugboats as it moves in the Suez Canal, Egypt, Monday, March 29, 2021. Salvage teams on Monday set free a colossal container ship that has halted global trade through the Suez Canal, bringing an end to a crisis that for nearly a week had clogged one of the world's most vital maritime arteries. (Suez Canal Authority via AP)

22:30 Taiwanese firm Evergreen Marine has thanked the Suez Canal Authority and other concerned parties for successfully releasing its giant ship Ever Given after it was stuck in the Suez Canal for six consecutive days.

21:00 Suez Canal Authority Chairman says 113 Ships will cross the channel from both sides until 800 GMT +2. Rabie said that operations at the canal will continue around the clock to clear the traffic jam caused by the mishap, which should be cleared within four days.

19:55 Shipping is on the move again in the Suez Canal after the Ever Given container ship that had blocked the waterway for nearly a week was re-floated.

A marine source said ships were travelling southwards towards the Red Sea, and Egypt's Leth Agencies said 43 vessels had resumed transit from the Great Bitter Lake, which separates two sections of the canal.

17:20 The container ship that was grounded in the Suez Canal and was refloated on Monday is undamaged and the canal is navigable, the canal's chairman told Egypt's Nile TV.

16:30 The Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie announced in a phone call to Egyptian satellite channel Extra News that navigation in the Suez Canal is set to resume on Monday evening at 8 pm.

16:10 Evergreen Line said on Monday that the Ever Given container ship would be inspected for seaworthiness after being dislodged from a southern section of the Suez Canal where it had been blocking traffic for nearly a week.

Taiwan listed Evergreen, which is leasing the ship, said decisions regarding the vessel's cargo would be made after the inspection and that it would coordinate with the ship's owner after investigation reports were completed.

15:45 Maersk shipping solutions has estimated that it could take 6 days or more for the complete queue of backlogged vessels to cross the Suez Canal, conditional on safety and other operational considerations.
15:00 The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced on Monday afternoon that it managed to fully re-float and sail the Ever Given container ship which has blocked the canal and disrupted international maritime trade for almost a week.

The Suez Canal’s service provider Leth Agencies confirmed that the mega-ship is currently sailing north on its way to the Bitter Lakes in the canal.

13:10 The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority explained that local efforts comprised 98 percent of all efforts to re-float the Ever Given. He noted that 15 Egyptian units that belong to the SCA have participated, including 12 tugboats and two dredgers.

Rabie lauded the tugging efforts made by two Egyptian tugboats owned by Abdel-Hamid Youssef and Mostafa Mahmoud, who are participating in tugging operations for the very first time.

13:00 Egypt’s balance of payments is not expected to see a significant disruption as a result of the Suez Canal blockage incident, Moody’s announced on Monday.

Moody’s rates Egypt at B2 stable in credit rating terms.

Suez Canal receipts amounted to almost 2 percent of the country’s GDP on average prior to the COVID-19 crisis, providing a significant contribution to Egypt’s total current account receipts, according to Moody’s.

On the other hand, Moody’s said that despite declining to 1.3 percent of GDP during the acute phase of the pandemic, Suez Canal receipts have proven more resilient than other cross-border services such as travel receipts.

“A temporary disruption will not materially change our expectation of a return to pre-crisis canal receipts, as global trade recovers. Despite the canal’s importance, especially for hydrocarbon products transported by sea, we expect that other Suez Canal-reliant exporters, including oil-exporting countries in the Middle East, are unlikely to be affected in the absence of an extended disruption,” according to Moody’s expectations.

11:30  In a Facebook post, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi thanked Egyptians "who contributed technically and practically to ending" the Ever Given crisis in Suez Canal.

The EVER GIVEN, which has blocked the canal since it ran aground on Tuesday, had started to float successfully on Monday morning after the ship responded to the latest tugging maneuvers.

Re-floated Ever Given
This picture taken on March 29, 2021 from a nearby tugboat in the Suez Canal shows a view of the Panama-flagged MV 'Ever Given' (operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine) container ship as it begins to move. AFP

10:45 Boskalis CEO Berdowski reported in the NOS Radio 1 Journal that it is possible to pull the stern off with the help of a large sea tug that arrived yesterday. 

The ship is now in the middle of the waterway, satellite data shows. But the stem is still "stuck," said Berdowski.
In the early morning, at high tide, the large sea tug of Boskalis subsidiary Smit Salvage was used for the first time in an operation to detach the ship, which turned 20 degrees. A second sea tug is now on site. Later today, when it is high water again, the large sea tug of Boskalis will be brought in to re-float the ship and clear the canal.
Berdowski pointed out that this will be a tough job. The sea tugs have to try to pull the heavy ship at the front over the clay layer, like "a huge whale lying on the beach that you have to slide off." Pulling the stern off was the easiest part, he said, "we shouldn't cheer too soon."
If it is not possible to pull off the front, Boskalis will switch to a different approach, the so-called underwashing. "Dredgers are on the way to get to the bottom, to be able to spray water there under great pressure so that the ship comes loose from the clay layer."
If that does not work, the containers have to be removed from the front of the ship, and this is "a time-consuming job there in the desert."
9:45 Satellite data from showed that the ship's bulbous bow, once lodged deep in the canal's eastern bank, had been partly wrested from the shore -- although it remained stuck at the canal's edge, the Associated Press reported.
The ship's stern had swung around and was now in the middle of the waterway, the tracking data showed. Although the movement represented the most significant progress yet, the salvage crew urged caution as obstacles loomed.
"Don't cheer too soon,'' Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, the salvage firm hired to extract the Ever Given, told Dutch NPO Radio 1, according to AP.
"The good news is that the stern is free, but we saw that as the simplest part of the job," Berdowski said, the AP reported.`
The toughest challenge remained at the front of the ship, he added, noting that workers would struggle to haul the fully laden 220,000-ton vessel over the clay of the canal bank.
An official at Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, the company that owns the Ever Given, confirmed the vessel's bow had moved slightly, but warned the bottom of the ship was still touching the seafloor. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
9:30 The delinquent Panamanian container ship Ever Given started to float successfully after the ship had responded to the latest tugging manoeuvres, Osama Rabie, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, announced on Monday morning.
The ship’s course was significantly modified by 80 percent, with the stern moving away from the shore by 102 metres instead of four metres, Rabie said.
The tugging manoeuvres are scheduled to resume again on Monday as the water level rises to a maximum height in the period from 11:30am to reach two metres, allowing the ship's course to be completely modified in the waterway.
Rabie added that navigation in the Suez Canal will resume once the vessel is fully floated and directed to the Bitter Lakes region for technical examination.
location photo for Ever Given
EVER GIVEN current position (container ship, IMO 9811000). photo courtesy VesselFinder
Sunday 28 March


23:20 The Suez Canal Authority has decided to postpone the re-floating attempt of the Ever Given ship, scheduled to Sunday night, until sufficient tug power is in place, the Suez Canal's service provider Leth Agencies said late on Sunday.


22:15 The ship's technical manager Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) said a new tug boat has arrived to the Suez Canal and will join efforts to re-float the Ever Given. Also another dredger the THSD Causeway is expected to arrive on Tuesday.

21:30 Head of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie said on Sunday evening the authority has intensified dredging work around the bow of the Ever Given ship blocking the canal to reach a depth of 18 meters.

Rabia added that the dredging work is mainly executed by the authority’s Mashhour dredger as well as other onshore excavators that are able to get closer to the vessel as Mashhour has to stay at least 10 meters away from the ship for safety considerations.


18:30 Suez Canal salvage teams were alternating between dredging and tugging on Sunday to dislodge the Ever Given a massive container ship blocking the busy waterway, while two sources told Reuters that efforts had been complicated by rock under the ship's bow.

17:30 Leth Agencies, the Suez Canal’s service provider, said on Sunday that the scheduled towing operation for the massive container ship was adjourned from 4pm to 10pm Cairo time (GMT+2) so as to utilise favourable tidal conditions.

16:15 Two attempts to free the giant Ever Given ship container will be conducted on Sunday coinciding with high tides helped by a full moon Sunday night, a top pilot with the canal authority told AP on condition of anonymity. 

"Sunday is very critical. It will determine the next step, which highly likely involves at least the partial offloading of the vessel," he said.

16:00 Head of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie said they are considering discounts for vessels affected by the blockage caused by the Ever Given since last Tuesday. According to Rabie, 369 vessels are still jammed as efforts to unblock the waterway continue for the sixth day.

15:00 Major container lines are now diverting ships round Cape of Good Hope to avoid the blockage. Llyoyd's List, Maersk and CMA-CGM have already re-routed some of their vessels.

14:00 SCA chairman Osama Rabie said two local tugboats, dubbed Abdel Hamid Youssef and Mostafa Mahmoud, are set to be dispatched to participate in the tugging attempts.

The two tugboats have a tugging power of 70 tonnes, he added.

Rabie revealed that the dredging operations executed by the authority’s Mashhour dredger reached 27,000 cubic meters of sand, with a depth of 18 meters. 

13:30 Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered preparations for lightening the giant container ship Ever Given, which is stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, Osama Rabie, the waterway chairman, told Extra News TV channel on Sunday.

Offloading the ship is currently the third option for dislodging the massive vessel. The first two options are towing the ship from both sides using tugs, while the second is digging out sand and mud from beneath the bow using dredgers.

11:30 Egypt rushes vets to examine cattle aboard ships stuck in Suez Canal.

The country's Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Sunday that three veterinary teams have been sent, in cooperation with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), to examine the animals and provide needed fodders.

The step comes amid concerns that the vessels carrying livestock run out of supplies as the blockage enters its fifth day.

10:30 Two additional tugs reach Egypt's Red Sea to help re-float Ever Given ship.

The Dutch-flagged Alp Guard and the Italian-flagged Carlo Magno, called in to help tugboats already there, reached the Red Sea near the city of Suez early Sunday, satellite data from showed.

The tugboats will nudge the 400-meter-long (quarter-mile-long) Ever Given as dredgers continue to vacuum up sand from underneath the vessel and mud caked to its port side, said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Ever Given.

Ever Given Saturday

Saturday 27 March

23:40 An attempt to free the mega Ever Given container ship that is blocking the Suez Canal was made late on Saturday using the high tide but no official statement was released on the outcome. 14 tugboats are participating in the rescue mission.

20:00 Two SCA sources told reuters it could be necessary to remove more sand from around the ship to free it. They added that there had been further, minor progress in dislodging the ship on Saturday. One source said there had been some movement at the bow of the ship.

16:15 It’s difficult to determine when the container ship saga blocking the strategic Suez Canal will be resolved, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie said on Saturday.

Rabie added in a press conference that 14 tugboats are participating in the rescue mission and that progress is noted. 321 vessels were waiting to enter or continue their transit through the canal.

14:15 Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly thanked the countries that have offered assistance to Egypt over the blocked ship saga.

He described the incident as “highly exceptional,” adding that the SCA has utilised all equipment, local and international expertise, and resources to resolve the crisis.

“We are racing against time to restore traffic in the vital artery that serves the whole world," he said.

12:45 Dutch firm Boskalis, which owns emergency response team Smit Salvage hired to assist in the rescue operations, said the ship could be freed by the beginning of next week if heavier tugboats, dredging and a high tide succeed in moving the ship. "Heavy tugboats, with a combined capacity of 400 tonnes, will arrive this weekend. We hope that a combination of the tugboats, dredging of sand at the bow and a high tide will enable us to get the ship loose at the beginning of next week,” Peter Berdowski, chief executive of Boskalis, told Dutch TV programme Nieuwsuur late Friday.

 A land crane would be brought in at the weekend to light the ship’s load by offloading containers, he said. "If we don't succeed in getting it loose next week, we will have to remove some 600 containers from the bow to reduce the weight," he revealed.

11:15 Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie will hold a press conference on Saturday at 2pm about the updates on efforts to re-float the giant Ever Given container ship blocking the strategic canal since Tuesday.

Three sources at the canal told Reuters that the latest tugging efforts to dislodge the ship failed on Friday, with attempts set to resume on Saturday.

10:30 The CEO of Shoei Kisen, which owns the ship, told a press conference in Japan on Friday that he hopes that the ship will be refloated as early as Saturday.

"The ship is not taking water. There is no problem with its rudders and propellers. Once it refloats, it should be able to operate,"Yukito Higaki said, adding that there was no damage to the ship’s engines.

1:00 US President Joe Biden said his country was looking at what help is needed to assist Egypt with efforts related to dislodging the ship.

"We have equipment and capacity that most countries don’t have, and we’re seeing what we can do — what help we can be,” Biden told reporters in Delaware. 

Ever mega ship
A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 26, 2021, shows the Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given (Evergreen), a 400-metre- (1,300-foot-)long and 59-metre wide vessel, lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt's Suez Canal. - Tugboats and dredgers were working today to free the giant container ship blocking Egypt's Suez Canal for a fourth day, forcing companies to re-route services from the vital shipping lane around Africa. (Photo: AFP)

Friday 26 March

 21:30 Tugging attempts to re-direct the stranded giant Ever Given container ship began on Friday evening after the conclusion of dredging efforts, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie said.

Rabie explained that nine giant tug boats - led by the SCA's Baraka 1 and Ezzat Adel - are undertaking the effort.

The tugging attempts began after the conclusion of dredging work by the dredger Mashhour, which targeted the removal of thousands of cubic meters of sand and mud around the vessel’s bow, he said.

The success of the tugging attempts depends on several factors, including wind direction and tide, making it a complex technical operation, Rabie said.

21:00 The White House said that the US is monitoring energy markets as the Suez Canal continues to be blocked by the mega container ship Ever Given, and will take appropriate measures if necessary.

The White House also said that the US offered to help Egypt in the efforts to reopen the canal since the blocking of the waterway could affect energy markets.

18:20 The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) released a video in the late afternoon showing rescue efforts to float the Ever Given.

The Chairman of the SCA directed during an inspection tour of dredging operations around the stranded ship that workers expedite and hone in their rescue efforts in a manner that meets the critical and time-sensitive nature of their mission.

17:30  An attempt on Friday to re-float the giant Ever Given container ship blocking Egypt’s vital Suez Canal has not been successful, Bernhard Schulte Ship management (BSM), the technical manager of the containership, announced.

According to an official statement, BSM said Dutch Smit Salvage confirmed that two additional tugs of 220 – 240 T bollard pull will arrive by 28 March to assist in the re-floating attempts.

13:45 The Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie announced on Friday that dredging operations around the giant Ever Given container ship, which has blocked the strategic waterway since running aground on Tuesday, have reached 87 percent as of this morning.

Rabie said the SCA's dredger Mashhour, which began its operations on Thursday evening, has already removed around 17,000 cubic meters of sand from around the vessel’s bow.

The dredging operations target removing 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of sand from around the bow and reaching a depth level of 12 to 16 meters to allow the vessel to float.

Suez Canal
Map show what authorities will have to do the move the Ever Given vessel from the Suez Canal.

11:30 Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said it “looks forward to cooperating with the United States” in efforts related to dislodging the giant Ever Given container ship that has blocked the canal since Tuesday, disrupting international maritime trade.

In a short statement on Friday morning, the SCA said it “values the offer of the US to contribute to these efforts,” expressing gratitude for all the other offers of assistance to free the container ship.

Meanwhile, the SCA is continuing extensive efforts, in cooperation with the Dutch firm Smit Salvage, to free the giant container ship for a fourth consecutive day.

Suez Canal
Courtesy of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA)

Thursday 25 March

22:50 Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said dredging operations underway at the site of the giant Ever Given container ship blocking the canal aim to remove 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of sand from around the vessel’s bow. The dredging operation targets reaching a depth level of 12 to 16 meters to allow for the vessel’s floating.

21:50 A higher tide due on Sunday may help the rescue efforts. However, the Egyptian meteorological authority is also warning of a "disruption of marine navigation" due to an expected sea storm on Saturday and Sunday, with winds forecast to reach up to 80 kph (50 mph) and waves up to 6 metres high along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez.

20:00 Global shipping giant Maersk and Germany's Hapag-Lloyd said Thursday they were looking into options to avoid the Suez Canal, including going around Africa, due to the blockade. The global trade flow is disrupted.

18:55 A statement by the Egyptian Cabinet said that 9 tug boats, 2 dredgers and 4 diggers are at work trying to free the enormous ship.

17:45 The Suez Canal Authority discusses the option of dredging around the vast container ship stranded in the waterway during a meeting with a rescue team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage.

17:00 Over 200 vessels carrying goods to destinations across the world on tight schedules remain trapped on either end of the canal, which links the Mediterranean and Red seas.

16:00 Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis, which is trying to free the ship, told the Dutch television programme Nieuwsuur, "We can't exclude that it might take weeks, depending on the situation."

15:00 Marine expert Mahmoud Nakhla, the CEO of NASSA Marines, has revealed three possible methods of unblocking the Suez Canal.

11:15 Egypt temporarily suspended navigation in its strategic Suez Canal as efforts continue for the third consecutive day to dislodge the giant Ever Given cargo ship blocking the waterway.

09:00 Japanese shipowner Shoei Kisen apologised for the incident and said work was underway to free the ship.

Baraka 1

Wednesday 24 March

20:05 Dutch marine services company Boskalis revealed that its subsidiary Smit Salvage has been hired to help with the rescue and floating operation.

18:00 Owner and insurers of the container ships face claims totalling millions of dollars, sources told Reuters. They would face claims from the Suez Canal Authority for loss of revenue and from other ships whose passage has been disrupted.

12:21 Brent crude rose by $1.75 (2.9 percent) to $62.54 a barrel. Prices rose by 5 percent later in the day.

09:00 A statement by the Suez Canal Authority said the ability to guide the vessel as it travelled through the canal was disrupted as a result of the turbulent weather the country experienced.

Rescue and floating operations have been underway since.

Tug boats, dredgers and bulldozers are at work trying to free the enormous ship.

Workers are seen next to a container ship which was hit by strong wind and ran aground in Suez Canal, Egypt March 24, 2021. Suez Canal Authority/Handout via REUTERS

Tuesday 23 March

07:40 The giant ship container ship Ever Given has lodged sideways at the Suez Canal's 151km mark.

The vessel, which is 400 metres long, 59 metres wide and can carry up to 224,000 tonnes, had set sail from China and was on its way to Rotterdam.

The incident was first reported by Julianna Cona, who was on board a ship behind the Ever Given, late on Tuesday. 

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