German Ambassador to Egypt Cyrill Nunn during a press conference in Cairo on Sunday
(Photo: Reem El-Sabaa)
German Ambassador to Cairo Cyrill Nunn said on Sunday his country would not hesitate to provide assistance to Egypt – if requested – to refloat the gigantic cargo ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal since Tuesday and causing a blockade in one the world’s busiest shipping arteries.
Up to 20 percent of Germany’s exports and imports are transported through the Egyptian waterway, which is the shortest link between Asia and Europe, as it links the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, Nunn revealed in press conference in the Egyptian capital on Sunday.
“That is why Germany is strongly keen [to see the ongoing efforts] to pull the vessel afloat and put it back on track,” the German ambassador said.
The official added that solving such a crisis requires strong technical support from other countries, including European ones.
“Generally, if there is a need for that technical support, and it’s requested from Germany, it will never hesitate to provide that support.” Nunn stressed.
The 400-metre-long, 59-metre-wide ship ‘Ever Given’, which was on its way from China to the port city of Rotterdam in the Netherland, veered off course and ran aground while it was passing through the international trade route on Tuesday morning.
The incident has caused around 321 vessels to be queued at the waterway or at anchor, awaiting transit through the canal through which facilitates around 12 percent of all world trade.
The strategic waterway, which is a main source of foreign currency for Egypt, is losing USD 12 to 14 million daily in revenues due to the incident, according to Chairman Osama Rabie.
The canal brought in $5.6 billion in revenues in 2020.
During Sunday’s conference, the German ambassador spoke about cooperative relations between Cairo and Berlin during the coronavirus era.
He said COVAX, a global initiative led by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Germany, and others, would provide Egypt with 5 million doses in the upcoming period.
COVAX, which aims to equally distribute coronavirus vaccines to the world, is looking forward to expanding the access of its vaccines to more countries, including Egypt.
Egypt, which so far has obtained 650,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm and the British-Swedish Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, is expecting more deliveries of the vaccines to include more categories to the vaccination campaign that kicked off in February.
Egypt’s total infection toll currently stands at 199,364 since the outbreak in February last year, including 11,854 fatalities.