Onshore excavators work to free the Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned Ever Given, which is lodged across the Suez Canal, Sunday, March 28, 2021 (Photo courtesy of the Suez Canal Authority)
Head of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie said on Sunday evening the authority has intensified dredging work around the bow of the ship ‘Ever Given’ stuck at the Suez Canal to reach a depth of 18 metres and consequently facilitate the efforts to re-float the giant vessel.
Rabie 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 ship more than Mashhour, which has to stay at least 10 meters away from the ship for safety considerations.
Rabie earlier today revealed that the dredging operations executed by the authority’s Mashhour dredger reached 27,000 cubic meters of sand.
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) to utilise favourable tidal conditions.
The salvage operations were alternating on Sunday between dredging and tugging in a bid to free the ship, according to Reuters.
Two sources told Reuters that rock under the bow of the ship has complicated the salvage efforts.
This comes while Egyptian authorities consider the third scenario of unloading the ship to ease the salvaging process.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered preparations for offloading the Ever Given, Rabie said in a TV statement earlier on Sunday.
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.
Rabie said today the SCA is considering discounts for vessels affected by the blockage caused by the ship.
The number of vessels delayed rose to 369, as efforts to unblock the waterway continue for the sixth day, the head of the SCA revealed.