This picture taken on March 28, 2021 shows tanker and freight ships near the entrance of the Suez Canal, by Egypt's Red Sea port city of Suez. AFP
The number of vessels waiting to pass through the Suez Canal has reached 369, as efforts to unblock the waterway continue for the sixth day, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie said on Sunday.
In statements to Al-Arabiya TV channel, Rabie revealed that 25 of the waiting ships are oil tankers.
Over the past five days, attempts to refloat the massive ship blocking the canal have been unsuccessful. There are currently 14 tug boats attempting to dislodge the ship, which veered off course and ran aground on Tuesday.
Earlier on Sunday, Rabie revealed that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered authorities to prepare to offload the giant container ship in case initial attempts to dislodge it fail.
There are currently three plans in place to refloat the ship: the first being towing the ship from both sides and the second is digging out sand and mud from beneath the bow using dredgers.
Offloading the stranded ship, which has been disrupting global shipping since Tuesday, is the worst-case scenario as it is expected to take the longest time, according to experts.
There are 18,000 containers on the ship, according to Rabie, who added that the incident is costing $13-14 million a day in lost revenue.